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On this blog we will track down the latest Amazon Kindle news. We will keep you up to date with whats hot in the bestsellers section, including books, ebooks and blogs... and we will also bring you great Kindle3 tips and tricks along with reviews for the latest KindleDX accessories.

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September 2016
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Amazon Prime Monthly Option Silently Added in US

While it won’t show up for everybody just yet, some people are beginning to see a new option for Amazon Prime subscriptions.  Instead of the long-running annual fee option, it will now be possible to subscribe to the service for just $7.99 per month.  This might be a premium when you compare the annual total to the more expensive initial investment, but it will be a huge factor in increasing adoption this holiday season.

There has been no official release from Amazon confirming the details about this new subscription plan.  Even seeing the advertisement for it seems to be difficult for some people, though logging out of your Amazon.com account and trying a variety of browsers tends to eventually result in a productive combination.  It is possible that we’re looking at a limited test phase as the company gets ready for a rush of Kindle Fire HD users over the holidays that the company needs to hook on the service as quickly as possible.

Starting…well, whenever this goes more public…the monthly option will put pressure on competing video services like Netflix and Hulu.  While Amazon Prime still lacks the depth of selection that the competing services have available it is still building up a huge library of subscriber-friendly media.  Tie this into the other benefits like the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library and the unlimited free two-day shipping to anywhere in the US and it’s a huge bargain that video-only services can’t equal.

So far we haven’t heard from anybody outside the US who has been able to view the ad that gives us the current pricing.  This could mean that it’s going to be a later rollout or it could mean that the offer will start out as exclusive to the US.  The monthly option does seem to be built as an imitation of Netflix’s pricing scheme and as such might not be considered appropriate in markets where the Prime video selection isn’t as robust yet.

Expect to hear about huge increases in subscription sales in the first quarter of next year.  The Kindle Fire HD is the top Android tablet in its size/price bracket and comes with a free month of Amazon Prime membership.  The formerly daunting $79 subscription fee that comes up after that free trial ends was definitely worth it for anybody who shops the site regularly, but the $7.99 monthly fee will be even harder to argue against.  It might be almost $17 more per year than the annual option, but if you buy at least two things per month from Amazon the math becomes quite easy to follow based on shipping savings alone.

Kindle Fire Welcome Screen Ads to Sell For $600,000+

Bringing advertisements to the Kindle line changed the way that eReaders were priced.  The competition has only recently been able to begin matching Amazon’s listings.  Interestingly, Amazon has also surprised customers by offering advertisements that occasionally bring genuine value to them beyond the initial price drop in hardware purchase.  Integration with Amazon’s local advertising only serves to make this more effective, of course.  The success that the Kindle w/ Special Offers as a program has enjoyed made it almost inevitable that the Kindle Fire would be included eventually and it seems that the time has come.

The Kindle Fire is Amazon’s best-selling product, as their first-quarter earnings release made clear.  It shouldn’t take anybody by surprise, then, to find out that they intend to make sure advertising space on the device comes at a premium.  According to Ad Age, that premium might be an even more expensive one than we could have predicted.  Amazon is said to be looking for $600,000 to run an ad on the Kindle Fire’s Welcome Screen.  For a variety of reasons, some of which are apparent, there has not been a great deal of enthusiasm for the idea among advertisers so far.

In addition to this being an impressively high charge for something like this, there was a great deal that was left unsaid.  For one, nobody seems to be quite sure whether or not these ads would be served to the millions of Kindle Fire owners who have already bought their tablets.  Having purchased a new product at full price with no indication that it would be used by Amazon to serve up advertisements, doing so would definitely upset some people and potentially undercut the benefits of buying the ad space.  This isn’t exactly a situation where Amazon is incurring obvious costs on existing units, as the Kindle Fire lacks 3G access.

Also, the company seems to have failed to clearly define what they consider to be the “Welcome Screen”.  Is this the Lock Screen, or something else?  This could very well be a sign that Amazon is getting ready for the next Kindle Fire and the Welcome Screen is something that will be included specifically for the purpose of creating a space for ads.  Unlike the Kindle eReaders, persistent advertisements would not be possible when the tablet is powered down which creates the need for a more creative solution to make the ads worth buying.

If subsidized by advertising, the next Kindle Fire model could be impressively inexpensive.  Existing Kindle w/ Special Offers options are 30% cheaper than their counterparts.  If the same sort of trend applies to the Kindle Fire, it could mean a $150 7″ Kindle Fire or better yet a $200 9.7″ option.  Now they just need to clarify the details to attract some interest.  It is probably a smart buy for many advertisers, but how can they be sure of that when so many things are left unsaid?

Amazon Kindle Loses Access to 5,000 Titles in IPG Dispute

In response to some arm twisting by Amazon, the Independent Publishers Group has decided to take a stand and pull all of their titles from the Kindle Store.  While the Kindle is a great device and the Kindle platform is possibly the best on the market for the consumer right now, this is a move that both makes sense and needed to happen.  The only question now is whether or not either side will be willing to explore the options presented by the situation rather than simply holding their ground and waiting to see who blinks first.

Basically, the problem is over pricing.  The Big 6 Publishers have enough clout to force Amazon to accept the Agency Model price scheme with all of their titles.  I’ve gone into why this is not a good thing plenty of times before and will do so again in the future, so it isn’t really worth indulging in today.  Smaller publishers, including the IPG, sell their content to Amazon wholesale.  This means smaller profits on each individual sale and it allows Amazon to exercise more control over the prices offered to readers.  This is also not necessarily a good thing, as in this case when Amazon is using their position as the main supplier of eBooks in the world to force their suppliers to offer more favorable terms than they can afford.

So we have Amazon wanting to lower prices on Kindle Editions and the IPG wanting to maintain their profits at a level roughly similar to what is made off of print books (based on statements taken from the IPG’s main site).  What we really need is not for one side to win over the other so much as a more adaptive model to emerge.  It makes sense for new releases of Kindle books to be priced similarly to their printed counterparts.  There should always be a premium on new media like that, although the savings inherent in using the eBook format should still be reflected in the price for readers.  When it comes to older titles, though, something else needs to be done.  Unlike physical reprinting, there is no ongoing cost of production.  Aside from the author royalties, they are pretty much pure profit for publishers and distributors.  Perhaps a tiered system would make more sense?

Regardless of any proposals for revamping the system, this is probably going to end messily somehow.  While the loss of a mere 5,000 eBooks won’t make a huge dent in the Kindle’s selection, the press surrounding the drama taking place won’t help Amazon any.  They are as likely to be persuaded to offer somewhat better terms just for the PR boost as to ignore the problem entirely.  On the other hand, the IPG is going to be hurting fairly quickly from the lack of Amazon as a channel.  They can’t last forever.  Where this goes will be based on the support they receive and the pressure that can be brought to bear on Amazon.  If you get the chance, lend your support in some way.  They’re going to need it, and Amazon is going to need an overhaul of some sort sooner or later to keep quality content coming in for their Kindle customers.

Audible Promo Makes Kindle Touch & Kindle Fire Even More Affordable

Amazon’s audiobook subsidiary, Audible, has a long standing promotion for new subscribers that could make your next Kindle upgrade significantly more affordable than expected.  It is not a new thing, in fact I am pretty sure that I’ve mentioned it here before from time to time, but since Amazon hasn’t been spending a lot of time advertising it recently I thought it would be worth another mention.  The way it works is simple enough to summarize here.

We’re making the assumption here that you enjoy the occasional audiobook.  Many people do, for a wide variety of reasons.  If you haven’t had a chance to check out the quality and usefulness of Audible’s selection, but you would like to consider making use of this promotional credit, do not succumb to the instinct to try out the service with a 30-Day Free Trial.  Yes, this is available, but you are only able to make use of one promo every 2 years according to the present terms & conditions and doing so would make you ineligible.  your best bet is to ask around for somebody who is already a member and try out something they have picked up.  It shouldn’t be hard to find someone, in my experience.

That addressed, it’s a simple enough arrangement.  By making the commitment of a 12 month membership plan at $14.95 per month, you get one book each month and $100 any qualifying product.  This includes any number of electronics from MP3 players and headphones to GPS devices.  There are even some tablets and laptops in the selection.  Most importantly, as far as I’m concerned, is that every Kindle product currently available is included in the promo.  This means that your Kindle Fire could be picked up for just $99, assuming you wouldn’t rather just have a free Kindle Touch.

To take advantage, head over to this Amazon promo page.  Under the heading “How to get your $100 promotional code” there is a link to sign up.  Your new audible membership will be tied directly into your Amazon.com account as soon as the transaction is complete.  This offer should be good until at least January 31, 2012.  It may be extended beyond that point, and has been in the past with no notice or fanfare, but you never know for sure.

There’s little risk in this if you are an audiobook fan.  Signing up for 12 books at $15 each isn’t exactly a ripoff on Amazon’s part, and they do not insist that you remain an active member to listen to them.  These days you can download your Audible selection to practically anything, up to 3 devices at a time, and take it to go.  The readings are above average, for the most part, and the service has been around long enough that reviews are plentiful and often highly informative.

Should you find yourself regretting the decision shortly after signing up, have no worries.  The program can be cancelled at any point in the first 30 days.  In that case you would be given the option to either pay the difference on your Kindle Fire (or whatever device you purchased with the $100 discount) or send it back unopened.

Kindle Trade-In Available Now For Those Hoping To Upgrade

As Kindle updates have happened over the years, one of the biggest customer complaints has been that Amazon has completely ignored the existing customers who might want to upgrade to the newest device possible.  This was especially an issue moving from the first generation of the Kindle to the second generation, since it was such an immense improvement and change in aesthetic.  Up until recently, however, the only recourse for early adopters and other existing customers was to either be happy with what you already have or pay full price for the next generation.  At this time, though, if you are a Kindle owner who would like to trade in their existing eReader for credit toward a new one, there is finally an option!

It seems that pretty much anything you have on hand is eligible.  Even first generation Kindles will get you up to $12 depending on condition.  That might not be much compared to the initial purchase price, but using a 4 year old eReader to get 15% off a new Kindle 4 isn’t a bad deal at all, considering all the improvements that have taken place.  Surprisingly, even non-Kindles are eligible.  At this time, a non-touchscreen Kobo or Sony Reader Pocket will get you around $20.  You’ll find any number of competing products to be worth some money if you are interested in switching to the Kindle, or just want some Amazon credit in general (Nook excluded at the moment).

As one cautionary note, be aware that when trading in your eReader you are unlikely to get the full “up to $__” value for your device as this is for a completely unworn product with its original packaging intact.  I doubt many people have hung on to their old boxes on the off chance they might come in handy someday.  The difference between the “Like New” price listed and a “Good” product is generally between $1 and $15, proportional to the value of the device.

I can see this being a valuable move for Amazon in a couple different ways.  Obviously it spurs adoption of new devices.  The Kindle Fire is doing great, of course, but more is always better.  Also, the Kindle Touch is probably where Amazon wants focus at this time as far as eReaders go, so it makes sense to provide an easy way to upgrade.  No matter what device is chosen, there is a good chance that it will be something that Amazon can present ads on, increasing the revenue stream along those lines going forward.  There is also a high probability that, since the Kindle 4 and Kindle Touch are the newer, shiner eReaders at the moment, this will mean fewer devices with unlimited 3G access floating around.  While they have not gotten rid of that feature for new Kindle Keyboard purchases, the restriction on the new device makes it clear that there is an interest in cutting down those ongoing expenses.

Regardless of the motivation for offering the deals, though, this should help some people who want to get their hands on a new Kindle to do so.  It might not be a lot of the price being offset in some cases, but everything makes a difference in the end.

Here is the link to the Trade-in department of Amazon where you can choose any stuff for trade-in transactions. In the “Find the Items You’d Like to Trade In” select “Electronics” category from the drop-down menu and type Kindle in “Search by title or keyword(s)” box. After clicking the “Go” button you will see the options for trade-in transactions.

 

 

How Much Do You Have To Read For The Amazon Kindle To Be Worth Buying?

There are any number of reasons to pick yourself up a Kindle, from convenience of transportation to instant 24-hour delivery of all new book purchases, but let’s take it down to the basics for a moment.  Assuming that you have absolutely no concern besides the direct tradeoffs with paper, how much do you have to read before your Kindle has justified itself?

Pricing

We’ll make the somewhat depressing assumption that you read nothing but current bestsellers.  I sincerely hope this isn’t the case, of course, but it makes the price estimation easier for me and negates the obvious point of free books that you should already be aware save you money.  Looking through the top 15 bestselling new hardcover book releases in the Amazon.com store(not the Kindle Store since that might indicate a customer predisposition toward discounted books), there are 13 books that the Kindle saves money on, one where the price is even based on pre-order discounting, and one book that is not available in Kindle format.

The actual average savings on those books that are available is around $2.47(ranging from $0.98 to $5), but for the sake of argument we can round it down to $2.  Always better to err on the side of caution.  This means approximately 58 Kindle books purchased during the life of your Kindle device before it has saved you money, if you pick up the $114 Kindle WiFi w/ Special Offers.  Now, I’m aware that reading five books per week is abnormal so my average doesn’t really play into this.  For the sake of argument, it seems safe to assume a conservative pattern of finishing a book every two weeks.  That would mean that you have to own a Kindle for a little over two years before it saves you any money, assuming this level of consumption and no taking advantage of special offers or hunting for savings.  Not unreasonable, if perhaps more than some would like.  These things do work pretty much forever if you take care of them.  It also might be worth knowing that Kindle owners are said to buy books at more than three times the rate of paper book customers, which speeds things up a bit.

Impact

Another major concern that has come up before is the environmental impact of eReading.  While there is definitely a lot more that goes into the manufacture of an eReader like the Kindle than ever would in a paper book, there is more than that to take into account. Between production, transportation, storage, shipping, and all the other associated fuel costs, each book creates a noticeable amount of pollution.  The question is where these numbers cross over.

Last year, in reference to Kindle 2 production, a report came out on the impact of producing Kindles compared to that of books which said that a Kindle creates a bit over 20 times as much pollution as a book in its creation.  You could always assume that Amazon has gotten more efficient in their production with the next generation of the device, improved processes being good at that sort of thing, but let’s ignore that speculation and focus on what numbers we actually have.  Round that first estimation up to 30 books worth if you want to account for the impact of charging your Kindle and I would be willing to bet that there are still very, very few people ever to own an eReader who didn’t manage to offset these totals.

Putting aside used books and libraries, since if you buy used books then you already know the advantages and the interaction between libraries and Kindles is in flux at the moment and hard to judge in the long term, picking up a Kindle, or any eReader, is just generally a good long term investment for you and the planet.

Kindle 3G w/ Special Offers Now Only $139

Looks like the Kindle 3G has just become that much more affordable. Apparently, thanks to an agreement with AT&T involving Kindle advertisements, Amazon has been able to drop the price of their 3G model noticeably. Now, for $139, just $25 more than the Kindle WiFi w/ Special Offers, you can’t really argue with the cost of convenience.

The move is well timed, given the current level of competition in the eReader world.  While the Kindle is still pretty much on top, especially internationally, the new Nook Simple Touch and Kobo eReaders are heating things up.  Since there are a few months to wait before the next iteration of the Kindle hits shelves, so to speak, it is important to emphasize the things that they have and nobody else does.  Things like the only really useful 3G connection on an eReader.  There isn’t one at all on the new Nook or Kobo releases, and the Nook 1st Edition is very limited in many ways including the 3G, by comparison.

This also does a lot to demonstrate the potential in the Kindle’s advertising support system.  A surprising number of people got upset at the Kindle w/ Special Offers being discounted rather than entirely free on release.  While I believe that to have been a bit optimistic for something being subsidized by an untried source of revenue, as advertisers catch on the prices will continue to drop.  In addition to the new deal with AT&T, the details of which have not been publicly released to the best of my knowledge, the Kindle is currently being sponsored by such companies as General Motors, Proctor & Gamble, and Chase.  If they were not seeing positive results, it would seem unlikely that even another big advertising partner would be enough to bring a price drop along with it.

For those who are in the market for a new eReader, the Kindle 3G w/ Special Offers retains all of its original functionality.  The screen, battery life, interface, and general readability are all as great as ever.  Even the ads, as much as they are conceptual abhorent to many when talking about their inclusion in a reading experience, are unobtrusive and never even hinted at while you are looking at a book.  The only major differences over the Kindle 3G are that this one is $50 cheaper and gives you something besides the slideshow of author portraits to see as screensavers.

For now this discount only applies to the 3G option, leaving the Kindle WiFi w/ Special Offers witting at $114.  Still a great price, but I would not be at all surprised to see a major sale in the near future.  While it is conceivable that the extra discount has at its core a service agreement that makes the 3G coverage on new Kindles cheaper for Amazon to maintain, which would in turn not apply to the WiFi models, a $25 difference doesn’t exactly set the two Kindles apart much and a $99 Kindle would make for some truly excellent sales numbers if analysts are to be believed.  Something to keep an eye on in weeks to come.

High-End Kindle Tablet Made For Video Streaming?

As the weeks go by and the holiday sales season gets ever closer, we get more and more details about the upcoming Kindle Tablets.  Yes, their very existence has only been hinted at in anything resembling official Amazon.com communication, but we know it’s coming.  It’s only a matter of figuring out in what forms and with what focus.  Now we have a bit more of a line on what the higher-end option of what appears to be the initial release group will be.

It shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise to find out that the Kindle Tablet reportedly codenamed “Hollywood” would have a visual media focus to it.  Now, though, we have a bit more to go on than random conjecture based on that name.  A recent report note from investment firm Detwiler Fenton indicates that the anticipated tablet will have a 10″ color screen as well as a bundled trial of an Amazon video streaming service such as, or possibly exactly the same as, that offered at the moment as a perk to Amazon Prime members.  It will also feature significantly more processing power than the other Kindle Tablet offering or offerings expected to launch around the same time, which when added to the anticipated pricing of around $399 would seem to make it a very real threat to the industry leading iPad.

Now, we know that Amazon has been doing so amazingly well with the existing Kindle line because of their focus on selling content for the whole platform rather than simply a line of physical eReading devices.  Rumors go so far as to say that the Kindle itself is being sold near cost.  It makes sense, by extension, that they will want to continue this approach in other forms of media if possible. Video makes perfect sense, as does music.  They have a presence in the retail market for both, in addition to the app marketplace that we have to assume will work exceptionally well with the new Kindle Tablets.  I anticipate an expansion of all of these either in terms of content or functionality before the launch, of course.

If the Kindle ‘Hollywood” Tablet is going to be pointed at the iPad, like many of us are assuming, it will only really have a chance if Amazon can compete successfully against the iTunes store.  That means streaming audio and video, cloud storage, and an amazing selection.  Nothing less will do.  Right now the Amazon Instant Video Store is a decent start, but it only does so much.  We are definitely likely to see an expansion of the offerings by the holidays as well as an extended Amazon Prime membership benefit list that takes advantage of it.  What else happens will depend in large part on what the other new Kindle offerings are focussed on.  A pocket-sized Kindle, perhaps, with a heavy music or audiobook emphasis?  There are a bunch of different openings for new media-consumption devices that remain to be exploited.  You have to admit, though, video is a great start.

A $99 Kindle For The Holidays?

There has been an observable trend of declining Kindle prices ever since the first incarnation of Amazon’s popular eReader in 2007.  It has actually been surprisingly steady and at one point led to rumors that there will be a free Kindle arriving in 2011 or 2012.  I’m not going to say that there won’t be a free Kindle at some point.  There very well might, especially if Amazon finds enough advertisers willing to buy into their Kindle w/ Special Offers scheme.  For now, however, I think that the more realistic hope would be a version of the same priced at, or simply a price cut to, less than $100.

For many people, this number has become emblematic.  It is the point at which eReaders become “worth it”, for whatever reason.  Even with the release of the recent ad-supported Kindle at just $115, people have still been expressing disappointment and outrage over that last fifteen dollars.  Now, we have to assume that Amazon is aware of this.  I don’t know how large a group of people it represents, but it is definitely a vocal one.  I can see two major reasons why they might have chosen, up until now, to avoid giving in to these pressures.

The most obvious is simply production costs.  Many reports have estimated that Amazon is almost certainly selling the Kindle at or below the cost of manufacture.  If this is the case, then even with Kindle book sales on the rise I could definitely understand a certain hesitation on the part of Amazon to accept a loss of fifteen dollars per unit on millions of units per year.  Not only would I call this scenario likely, I would say that the release of a Kindle supported by advertising is evidence of Amazon’s need to find creative ways to bring costs down.  As the trend catches on and advertisers buy into the idea, it should be possible for prices to drop even more.

The other explanation, which is not exclusive of the first by any means, is that Amazon wanted to catch people’s attention with a price drop early in the year but still have something in reserve for the holiday season.  Let’s face it, the time to be launching an ad campaign highlighting your newly affordable piece of portable electronics is right before the holiday season.  By holding off for a bit, it gives them room to time the all important move into impulse buy pricing.

There have been chances to grab eReaders for less than $100 before, including refurbished Kindles and Nooks that I’ve seen for as low as $80, but this would be the first regularly available, new, full featured, current generation eReader to hit that level as far as I know.  We can be sure that the Nook will follow suit as soon as B&N figures out how to afford it, but this would be an even bigger advantage for the Kindle than it has at present. It would also do a great deal to set the product apart even further from any Tablet PC offerings that Amazon may or may not be releasing this year, which seems vital if they are following through with the plan to continue offering a dedicated eReader indefinitely.

How to Productively Criticize High Kindle Book Prices

I’ve noticed no small number of negative reviews going around for Kindle books that publishers insist on pricing above their corresponding hardcover editions. I wholeheartedly approve!  What makes it worth commenting on at the moment, however, are the ones that come from verified customers.  Seriously, how does that make sense?

Let’s think about this for a moment.  When you buy an eBook, you are making a statement.  You are telling publishers that “yes, this eBook is worth at least as much to me as you are asking me to pay for it.”  If it were not, then you would have kept the money.  I can almost understand where somebody who buys an alternate edition of a given book, say a paperback, can justify popping into the reviews to talk about the fact that they would have rather had an affordably priced eBook, but once again it fails to mean anything to a publisher who is already going out of their way to encourage their customers to avoid eBooks and stick to the traditional paper medium.  The publishers simply will not care about your complaints while they can view them as confirmation of the view that readers are willing to cave to the pressures of the model they have forced on the industry.

But obviously you want to read a good book, right?  Otherwise there really wouldn’t be much of a point in having a Kindle to begin with.  If you don’t purchase something to read, you don’t get to do the reading.  Fortunately, the sheer volume of options available, especially now, should work in your favor.  This is a great chance to indulge in a collection of new authors.  I would say there’s an excellent chance that you’ll be able to find something to your taste among the increasingly prominent crowd of self-publishers, if nothing else. Personally, I also find a great deal of excellent expense-free reading material from sites like Manybooks and the Baen Free Library, although I can understand that some people might be hesitant due to their “limited” selections (Not much in the way of current Bestsellers).

Whether you like the idea of altering your reading habits or not is going to be a personal choice.  I tend to view a reason to go through the wider variety of publications as a positive rather than an inconvenience.  The alternative is to accept that when it comes down to it, the publishers have a point and you simply do value grabbing the newest books at the highest prices to the point where they can get away with continuing on the path they have been.  Complaining isn’t going to do much, as far as I can see, if it’s followed by caving in on the issue.

The Kindle offers a practically unlimited selection of eBooks to choose from.  More than any person could hope to read in a lifetime.  And that’s great, of course.  What brought many people around to the eReader alternative was the promise of less expensive reading material that reflects the lower cost of production.  The desire for, or even necessity of, that change is something that I feel should be made clear to the publishing houses, even if it means putting off grabbing a popular new book or heading to the library to read it there.

New $114 Ad-Supported Kindle Announced!

Amazon(NASDAQ:AMZN) has just announced the newest addition to its highly successful Kindle line… kinda!  Visitors finding themselves at Amazon.com today will be seeing an announcement for a new “Kindle(with Special Offers)” being sold at a mere $114.  While it isn’t a hardware upgrade, anything to bring down the price on the Kindle is only going to help get it out there at this point.

What we’ve got is essentially just the existing Kindle WiFi that we all know and love already.  Instead of the standard “enjoyable” screen savers of author portraits and “kindle” related facts, it will display current advertisements and deals available to users.  While there will also be a small ad box at the bottom of the home screen, it is fairly unobtrusive and will not at any time appear during the act of reading.  Overall, definitely sounding like it’s worth the $25 savings so far.  Current examples being highlighted by the pre-order site include “$10 for $20 Amazon.com Gift Card” and “$1 for an album in the Amazon MP3 Store (choose from over 1 million albums)”.

In order to make these ads less painful for people to swallow, and presumably more effective in reaching a target audience at the same time, Amazon will be opening up a service called AdMash.  AdMash will allow Kindle users to preview potential Kindle advertisements and vote on which ones they would like to see.  Those that make it through this user selection process will enter into the pool and have a chance to end up on your eReader.  The plan at present is to allow users to select certain categories that they would be more or less interested in seeing on a daily basis and weighting the displayed ads based on these expressed personal preferences.

If all goes well, for example, a user will be able to decide they really love beaches and see a lot of ads displayed across beach backgrounds.  While still theoretical at this point since nothing has gone live, I can’t really imagine that there will be any shortage of interested advertisers(depending on the pricing scheme of course, since this is a fairly unproven ad medium), so there should be room for variety.  I would even imagine that at least some people, specifically thinking about coupon enthusiasts, will be more interested in the potential for sale notifications and coupons than the existing screen savers anyway.

The implementation remains to be seen, and I’m interested in seeing how a couple things are resolves.  How does Amazon plan to guarantee that users access the Kindle’s WiFi often enough to keep the ads cycling, for example?  Also, is this planned as an international project, or will the current US-only offer stand alone?  Mostly, though, I’m curious how they will address the software issues, especially hacking.  Anybody familiar with this site knows that you’ll find the occasional way to tweak your Kindle.  This is something I think many of us take advantage from time to time.  How, then, will the ads mesh with things like the popular Kindle Screensaver Hack that users developed to get around the repetitive author portraits?  Also, assuming they have managed to find an effective way, will this mean a software update that will impair the user’s ability to play with these sorts of tweaks?  Lots of questions without answers as of yet, but I’m sure it won’t be long before we know more.

Kindle Black Friday Deal – Now Live On Amazon!

Kindle Black Friday Deal (buying 2nd generation Kindle 3G eReader for $89) is live Black Friday Lightning Deals page on Amazon Black Friday home page (to have easier time finding the deal, select “Kindle Store” in the category selector – it will be the only deal there). Here is a screen shot of the deal. You can click on it to go to the deal page.

Kindle Black Friday Deal 2010 Sale

Kindle Black Friday Deal 2010 Sale

Deals page on Amazon.com website seems to be extremely slow to load this morning. By the looks of it a lot of shoppers convinced by the ads decided to cyber-shop on Amazon this Black Friday rather than camp at 4am on Best Buy parking lot. If Amazon Black Friday Lightning Deals page is being slow for you or fails to load at all, you can check out this copy that I’ve created that is lightweight. It only contains Black Friday deals that are currently active and not sold out (why would you care about other deals anyway?) so Kindle deal should also be there only while supplies last. I try to have the deals updated every minute but even with  2 redundant servers doing it parallel, Amazon website sometimes doesn’t respond at all.

And of course, should you be out of luck on Black Friday Kindle 2 for $89, you can always get the latest generation Kindle 3 with WiFi for $139.

I will keep updating this page as the deal unfolds.

Kindle DX Gets Facelift, Price Cut

Let’s be honest, many of us were wondering what the status of the Kindle DX would turn out to be after the recent price cuts on both the Kindle and the nook made it seem more than a little bit overpriced for the times.  Thankfully, Amazon(NASDAQ:AMZN) has responded and then some with an update to the device.  The new Kindle DX has greatly improved screen contrast, a more inviting graphite exterior, and most importantly a greatly lowered $379 price tag.

Now, nobody’s going to claim at this point that the DX is a game changer.  It was a great idea that turned out to be impractical for many of its intended audience.  The screen refresh is too slow for students used to flipping back and forth before they lose their train of thought, and the size was often found to be prohibitive to easy transportation in crowded areas.  That part hasn’t changed.  While it may appeal only to a slightly smaller audience than intended, however, this is a great eReader.  It’s the only one I have used that has given me perfect, or near perfect, display on every PDF I’ve thrown at it, it’s amazingly easy to read and just simulates the feel of a hardcover better than the usual 6″ screen, and it has all the usual great features you expect from an Amazon eReader.  Fortunately they ship on July 7th.  I can’t wait to get my upgrade.

Amazon Kindle Price Drop

It seems that in one day we not only get a drop in price for the Barnes & Noble(NYSE:BKS) nook, one of the front runners in the eReader device marketplace, but an immediate reaction and one-upping from Amazon(NASDAQ:AMZN).

As already reported, the nook has undergone a steep drop in price from $259 to $199, as well as welcoming a new member to the product family: A WiFi only model at a mere $149.  In response, Amazon has cut the price of their ever-popular Kindle from $259 to $189 in what can only be seen as a direct and hostile response to B&N’s move.

One of the main sources for concern lately among critics has been the pricing of these devices.  While always a reasonable investment for the avid reader, some have had trouble justifying the expense of the more popular and full-featured of the eReaders such as the Kindle and nook.  This is quickly becoming a non-issue. The Kobo made its splash by setting an amazing new low price for the market and mere months later we have one product with a more robust support list and feature set being offered at the same $149 price, and the most popular and well-supported eBook reading device on the market today for just $40 more.   There is simply no excuse anymore not to own one.  Amazon and B&N are in a price war and the only one winning is the reader.

Amazon Kindle Black Friday Deal Hunt!

While historically Amazon didn’t provide any Black Friday discounts for it’s Kindle eBook reader it may be possible that they’ll actually put out some kind of last minute deal in their Black Friday deals week section. Unusually high competition from Sony and Barnes&Noble along with imminent battle with Google might push Amazon to make one more move this holiday season on top of the ones they’ve done already:

  • Releasing international version of Kindle.
  • Releasing Kindle for PC application.
  • Releasing a major software update that likely cost them big $$$ that enables PDF on 2nd generation Kindles.

Although I’ll be checking for Kindle deals on a regular basis, if you spot one before me – be sure to leave a comment. To make this interesting, I’ll send a $50 Amazon gift card to the first person to post a link to functioning Black Friday discount deal on Kindle device, accessory or eBook. Discount must be specific to that item. When you post a comment, make sure to enter working and correct email as I’ll use it to contact the winner.

Deals that people reported:

International Kindle Price Drop

Only 3 days after the release of Kindle 2 International, Amazon has slashed $20.00 off the price. If you purchased it for $279.00 you will get a refund along with the following email:

Hello,

Good news! Due to strong customer demand for our newest Kindle with U.S. and international wireless, we are consolidating our family of 6″ Kindles. As part of this consolidation, we are lowering the price of the Kindle you just purchased from $279 down to $259. You don’t need to do anything to get the lower price–we are automatically issuing you a $20 refund. This refund should be processed in the next few days and will appear as a credit on your next billing statement.

We’ll also send you a follow-up e-mail to confirm the refund once it has been completed.
We hope you enjoy your new Kindle. Please send us your feedback at: Kindle-feedback@amazon.com

US version of Kindle is now available only as refurbished merchandise.

Price drop on refurbished Kindle

Amazon Kindle 1

Amazon Kindle 1

Recently Amazon dropped the price on refurbished first generation Kindles. You can now get one for $149 .00 while supplies last. It looks like Amazon is trying to stay competitive in the cheaper eReader niche. Don’t let the word “refurbished” set you off. In my opinion it is a great deal. Here’s why:

  • You still get 1 year warranty from Amazon just like with new Kindle. In one year from now Amazon will likely be out of 1st generation Kindles so warranty exchange will very likely become an upgrade.
  • You get same scree resolution as Kindle 2, fewer shades of gray but better contrast according to many users.
  • By spending additional $9.90 on 4GB SD card you will get more on-device storage than in Kindle DX.
  • Not that it would matter, given that K1 just like all other Kindles has free lifetime Internet access.
  • Personally I like select wheel and cursor bar of K1 better than 5-way controller of K2.

All in all just like Kindle DX isn’t better or upgraded compared to Kindle 2, Kindle 1 is more different from Kindle 2 rather than inferior or outdated. The only real drawback of K1 I can honestly admit is that page turning buttons are too soft and therefore are prone to be accidentally pressed when you pick up the device. However if you strongly feel that Kindle 2 is the way to go for you, then by adding $70.00 you can get refurbished Kindle 2 for $219.00.

eBook reader market has come a long way since originally Amazon Kindle retailed for $399.00 when it was launched two years ago. Now you can get the same device for nearly 1/3 of that price.

Kindle 2 Price Drop


Buy Kindle 2 for  $299.00

Buy Kindle 2 for $299.00

Here’s a piece of news most of you were waiting for! How do I know? Well, on a daily basis I check list of search keywords that you used to find my blog and “Kindle price drop” was the one I saw quite often.

Kindle 2 now sells for $299.00, $60.00 down from original price of $359.00 that endured for very long time. It’s ready to ship on the same day you order it. Kindle DX still sells for $489.00 and is still on back-order. Though wait time is now reduced to 3-5 weeks from 4-6 one week ago.

I believe that much more people would now buy Kindle 2 because psychologically there is a big difference between these prices. I wouldn’t be surprised if Kindle 2 would become backordered just as Kindle DX unless Amazon was planning this move for a long time and stocked up before they announced it.

Do I foresee more price drops for Kindle2? Not in the near future. Amazon is already selling the device very close to what is speculated to be manufacturing cost and they are not making much profit on books either because they are paying publisher commissions based on the paperback price of ~$20.00 per book.

Why are they doing this? Definitely not because they feel altruistic. Amazon is the leading player in the eBook market right now but they are still not as secure and established as Google is in Internet Search or Microsoft is in Operating Systems and Office Software. Amazon is trying for it very hard, just as there several other players that are trying hard to dethrone Amazon. That is why (in my opinion) Amazon hardly makes any profit on Kindle devices and eBooks right now – they are trying to grab the market that is currently exploding as fast as the Internet was before. I wouldn’t be surprised if Google’s announcement about their digital bookstore had much to do with this price drop.

Will there be price drops for Kindle DX? Definitely not before it will be in stock again. Which will be for at least another month if not more. If we’ll finally see Kindle Textbook Store by the start of the next college year it will cause another spike in demand and DX might go on back-order again thus eliminating chances of a price drop. On the other hand should Amazon increase their manufacturing capacities a price drop for Kindle DX when textbook store will open would be a logical move.

In case you just paid $359.00 for Kindle 2 there’s good news for you too.  If it was less than 30 days ago you can contact Kindle support and get $60.00 refund. Here’s how to do it:

6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Pacific Time, seven days a week. You can also reach us by calling one of these numbers: Inside the United States: 1-866-321-8851; Outside the United States: 1-206-266-0927.

Or go to this page and click the ‘Contact Us’ button to have them call you back.

Save $100 on a Kindle purchase, now just $259

Amazon.com has partnered up with Chase in a rare limited time offer where you can get up to $100 off the Kindle paying a total of $259 for the device – the offer ends on September 8th.

Get the Amazon Rewards Visa Card and Get $100 Off Kindle
Thanks to Chase, you get $100 off Kindle when you get the new Amazon.com Rewards Visa Card. Limited time only. Here’s how this works: 1) Apply Online. Get a response in as little as 30 seconds. If you’re approved, we will instantly add the card to your Amazon.com account and you’ll get $30 back on your credit card statement after your purchase. 2) Add a Kindle to your cart. 3) Place your order using the Amazon.com Rewards Visa Card and enter this promo code: VISACARD to get the additional $70 savings at checkout. Additional restrictions apply.

Now you might be thinking why is Chase offering to subsidise you up to $100 for a Kindle, well, they want you to start using their credit card called the Amazon.com Rewards Visa card, and over time Chase hopes to recoup the $100 through interest payments. The promotion is offered and paid for by Chase, not Amazon, so for those who have bought the Kindle in the past couple of weeks, Amazon wont refund you the $70 that Chase is subsidising the Kindle.

Once your approved for the card, which Amazon says takes less than a minute, Chase will add $30 in credit to your Amazon.com Rewards Visa card. Once the card is added to your Amazon.com account you can add the Kindle to your shopping cart and apply the “VISACARD” discount code for an additional $70 off. This code will only work if you add Kindle to you cart and go through the normal checkout process and don’t use 1-click, the discount should work even if you already have the Amazon.com Rewards Visa card, unfortunately the $30 credit is for new card customers only.

A Kindle for $259 was an offer too good for me to pass, for the last couple of weeks I’ve been thinking about getting a Kindle for my wife, once I heard about this offer my mind was made up – I was going to get it. Once I was approved for the card, sure enough I put the “VISACARD” code in and a $70 discount was applied to the Kindle. My wife’s shiny new Kindle should arrive on Monday, perfect.

Now I’m not a big user/fan of credit cards in any case, I religiously pay whatever I owe off every month, but since there isn’t a yearly fee for having the Amazon rewards card, I don’t mind applying for it, I guess it will just sit there nicely in my wallet. If you do decide to go for it, make sure you pay it off and don’t drive yourself into debt, if you don’t trust yourself you can always cut the card up as soon as you get it.

Will you be taking advantage of this offer?

Source: Amazon.com

$9.99 per e-book, the most impotant factor in Kindles success

Amazon Kindle product description and specificationAs a Kindle owner with over 100 e-books–many of them only half read I must admit–on my Kindle, I have found that I’ve been buying a lot on impulse. If the product description excites me, then I will buy it considering the price is under $5. If its between $5 and $9.99 then I will pause for a moment to consider if I will actually read it all the way through. However once the price of an e-book passes the $9.99 mark, then I automatically don’t want to buy the book, even if I really want it. My mind is telling me that if your practically going to pay full price, you might as-well get a dead-tree book.

The thing is, it’s so easy to buy books on the Kindle, it almost feels like your not spending money, but once the price passes $9.99 it does feel like your spending money. Just like Apple got it right with 99-cents per song on iTunes, this is where Amazon got it right as-well, $9.99 is the perfect price for new releases.

If all those book I didn’t purchase because they were priced above $9.99 not been, then I would have probably have had about 125-130 titles on my Kindle by now. I’m willing to bet many other Kindle owners are walking away from purchases because of pricing, perhaps its a psychological barrier which I have become used to which means I cant buy books above $9.99. One of the reasons behind my purchasing a Kindle was the reduced price for many books, now when e-book are being priced at $2 or $3 cheaper than their printed counterparts then it hardly seem worth investing $400 for the Kindle.

I realise that Amazon probably doesn’t set for most of the e-book on Kindle, so publishers need to get the message that the $9.99 price tag means more sales and that pricing e-books higher than that is stifling their growth.

Do/Would/Should you pay more than $9.99 for a Kindle e-book?

Kindle “Still Too Expensive for Mass Acceptance”

Amazon Kindle product description and specificationThat’s what analyst Steve Weinstein of Portland’s Pacific Crest told the San Francisco Chronicle, adding that Amazon has sold around 40,000 units so far this year and could sell between 700,000 – 800,000 by the end of 2008 hitting $2.5 billion in sales by 2012.

Considering that Apple sold 376,000 iPod units in its first year, the numbers look promising, that’s considering you believe Mr Weinstein’s numbers – we think his numbers are highly inflated and Mark Mahaney’s figures are more realistic. But that’s not the interesting part of Steve Weinstein’s analysis, he goes on to say that Kindle wont have the same impact on the industry as the iPod had on the music industry, – I think we can all agree on that – one reason being that that price of the Kindle, currently at $359, is too expensive for mass acceptance. Is $359 too expensive? what we have got to remember is that Kindle is the first generation device, and prices will inevitably drop.

Tim McCall, VP of sales at Penguin Group USA said “We see it as an incremental change” suggesting that the Kindle is a catalyst in an overall move towards an e-book distribution model for the industry. Tim McCall added “It’s certainly a device that has energized the digitization of books”.

Is the Kindle too expensive for mass acceptance? what do you think:

Did you pay $399 for your Kindle? then get you $40 back

40 dollars

You may be noticed that Amazon cut the price of the Kindle to $359 today, whilst $40 isn’t the big price cut many people people were hoping for, its still better than nothing. There is good news for you early adopters out there who paid the original $399, Amazon doesn’t mind giving you back the $40 extra you paid in the form of credit into your Amazon account.

Paul Robichaux, a Kindle owner wrote on his blog:

Excellent! Amazon dropped the price on the Amazon Kindle, which I’m still using quite a bit. (David has been trying to steal it to read that free Star Wars book I downloaded, too). The price is now $359, so I e-mailed them to ask for a price credit– which they promptly issued. That $40 will buy me at least four more books, O happy day.

You too can shoot Amazon customer support an e-mail asking for a price credit, just follow the link and then press the yellow contact us button on the right hand side. Good luck!

Let us know if you got your $40 back and what you purchased with it.

UPDATE: It appears that Amazon is only giving credit to the people who bought their Kindle on the 27th April onwards under their 30 day price drop policy, I apologise for any confusion.

Source: robichaux.net

Kindle is now reduced to $359 and is back in stock

Amazon Kindle reduced to $359

Amazon updated the Kindle product page this morning with a 10% reduction in the price of the Kindle, the price drop is a welcome one and also includes free 2-day shipping. So if you have been waiting for the price to drop before purchasing a Kindle, now is your chance to get one before stocks run out again!

The price drop was expected, as predicted by most analysts, further drops are expected in the future but that all depends on a stable supply of Kindle devices. The reason Kindle has been out of stock so frequently is because a single factory has been manufacturing the Kindles, so far supply has FAR exceeded demand, but just over a month ago Amazon brought on-line a second factory, which should create a more stable supply of Kindle devices.

Amazon is expect to drop the price around 15% a year, so by 2010 the device should be priced at around $300 in line with expectations, meaning I wouldn’t expect another price drop until around Christmas time.

Source: Amazon Kindle Store – Kindle now $359 with free 2-day shipping