About

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.

Recent Comments

September 2016
M T W T F S S
« Oct    
 1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
2627282930  

Head Back To School With A Kindle

Well, it’s August again.  That means it is definitely time to get things ready for the upcoming school year for all those parents out there.  Normally, this is where I would come right out and say “Hey, buy them a Kindle and save money in the long run!”  We’ll consider that a given for all the usual reasons like pricing and saving on precious and increasingly overused bag space and move on to why this year provides some interesting factors to take into consideration.  It’s also a great way to encourage a little bit more reading in kids who are otherwise bombarded with far too many other attention draws to consider it time well spent without something extra to make it appealing.

The pricing on eReaders has gotten to the point where, pretty much across the board, they are affordable as replacements for the sort of fiction that usually comes up in schools.  When you are used to paying $7.99 per book for something you can get on a Kindle for a dollar or even for free, the device pays for itself pretty quick.  The same is true of the competition as well, naturally.  Right now, as far as school use goes, I would consider both the Nook Simple Touch and any of the Kindles as ideal for the purpose.

The most important factor, aside from text pricing and availability which are fairly universal as relates to what might be required in these circumstances, is durability.  Ideally, you don’t want to have to replace whatever you go for any time soon since it can take the better part of a year for the savings to offset the purchase price unless your child is a big reader. The new touchscreen Kobo isn’t bad, but it feels a bit flimsy by comparison with others.  Both the Kindle and Nook at this point are pretty equally rugged and have a large variety of cases available for protection and personalization. Do not skip getting a case, if you can help it.  These are generally solid devices, but even an inexpensive case like those in the Marware Eco-Vue line is enough to save from most wear and tear taken in transit and even buffer against short falls that would otherwise destroy the screens.

If neither eReader option is quite what you are hoping for, it might be a better choice to hold off on a purchase entirely, for once.  Amazon has two new Kindles on the way, according to seemingly accurate reports.  While they will not be making it in before the beginning of this Fall Semester, being October releases, there promises to be an introduction of touchscreen technology and possibly even a price drop even beyond what has been happening recently with the Kindle in general.  We may even see the first in the new line of Kindle Tablets, making possible all sorts of new uses including the replacement of textbooks.  That latter point, of course, won’t apply to most pre-college students, but it might be important for kids who are near to graduating and moving on.

Nearly One Third of Internet Users Like the Kindle

According to a December survey of internet users conducted by J.P. Morgan, nearly a third(28%, to be exact) of these users either own a Kindle or have plans to purchase one in the next year. This would definitely seem to be held up by the record breaking sales that Amazon reported for the holiday season.  Even given the impressive numbers already, and the high expectations for the year to come, it is hard to picture a third of the internet having their hands on any eReader, even the Kindle, but it’s definitely a reassuring number for fans.

In terms of cross market interaction, for lack of a better way to put it, ownership of the iPad seems to have significant crossover with that of the Kindle.  The report states that 40% of current iPad owners surveyed already own a Kindle and an additional 23% are planning to pick one up in the next year.  While many assumed that Apple’s full-color, multifunction device would be the death of the Kindle due to its versatility, there ended up being less of a Kindle vs iPad situation and more of interest in the unique capabilities of each.  And, of course, for those who don’t have themselves a Kindle in hand yet, there’s always the Kindle for iPad app, so all is well in the eReading world I suppose.

The Nook didn’t fare quite so well among respondents.  Only about 45% of those surveyed had any knowledge of the product’s existence compared to 76% for the Kindle and 84% for the iPad.  While it was still a bestselling product for Barnes & Noble, and it was certainly helped along by the ability to demo the eReader in stores nationwide, as of yet there seems to be no real Kindle vs Nook competition when it comes down to market saturation.  Part of the failure to take the edge over the Kindle could be attributed to the increasing availability of Amazon’s eReader in brick and mortar locations such as Target and Best Buy.  Regardless, the numbers just aren’t quite there yet for what is widely considered the second-best eReader on the market today.

With eBooks taking off as they have, it’s never been more important for booksellers to be aware of the options available for future endeavors.  Amazon has obviously established their place as the most prominent distributor of eBooks on the net, as well as building an excellent variety of ways to view them. Basically, after them everybody else is struggling to catch up.  There are some great pieces of reading hardware coming out these days, and some interesting offerings in terms of media, like Google eBook, but the only line that really seems able to hold up both ends of things securely has been the Kindle.  It isn’t the only option, of course, but it is the one that best combines convenience of use and purchasing with a great interface and reliable equipment. We’ll have to wait and see where color eReaders take us in the near future, but for now it seems like this would be a hard act to catch up to for anybody.

Kno Finally Ships

Remember the Kno?  It was an interesting idea that was taken by many to be an impossible or doomed project many months ago.  The basic idea was that a tablet PC optimized for educational needs and being about the size and weight of a standard undergraduate textbook would go over impressively in the same market where the Kindle failed to make an impression in early tests.  Well, as of 12/21 the thing has actually entered the market!

The major selling points seem to be the focus on textbooks and note taking.  Looking through the initial offerings, there seems to be quite the selection of digital textbooks already and supposedly more deals are on the way.  Particularly interesting for many will be the textbook rental option which will allow students to grab their texts for just a semester at a time for a reduced price.  How many people end up needing their Biology 101 text after their first year anyway, right?  Right along with that, the fact that you can write directly on the screen, allowing the potential for easy margin notation or a virtual notepad will address one of the problems with the Kindle‘s classroom usefulness.  Ease of use on what is among the most important study related activities for many will help.

Beyond that, a lot is riding on the as-yet unrealized potential offered by the app market.  Since the whole system is essentially built on the WebKit browser engine, development should be impressively simple and offer a variety of possibilities.  The initial offerings of book reading, web browsing, and note taking apps will fill most basic needs, but it’s always best to see some development after the devices have seen some time in the wild, so to speak.

On the negatives side, we still have a very narrowly purposed device and a comparatively high price point.  There is no usable USB port, so you’re stuck with the on-screen keyboard or a stylus.  It’s a bit on the heavy side as far as something you’re hoping to do any reading is concerned.  Also, I have to emphasize that based on the specs this is definitely a reading and web browsing device rather than a PC replacement.  It has limited hard drive space, unimpressive speed, and no real expandability.  For full tech specs, click here.

Overall, I like the product though.  As the developers emphasize on the sales site, your investment(whether it be $599 for the single screen 16GB unit or $999 for the dual screen 32GB unit) will pay off over the course of a year or two, assuming the student using it is able to get the majority of their textbooks through the Kno’s text store, which is something you’ve got to hope to be able to do for this to make sense in the first place.

It isn’t going to be for everybody.  This isn’t a Kindle for book reading or an iPad for general use tablet applications.  It’s strictly academic.  That said, we can only hope that it sees some success.  It would certainly be great to have access to something like this that would really allow eBooks to make a splash in the textbook market.