Amazon has introduced the Kindle to its Brazil site, making available to customers there more than 1500 free Portuguese books (they are free to everyone else, as well). They have also created a Portuguese version of the Kindle app for various platforms.
Read more about it at pcmag.com.
Had I been posting this over the weekend, I would have been stomping my feet about Amazon requiring the display of advertising on the new Kindle Fire devices that are coming out later this fall. But apparently there was such a huge backlash against them, that less than 24 hours after the news of the required ads went public, they changed their mind and decided to offer an opt-out for $15. I almost wonder if the whole thing wasn’t part of a nefarious free advertising scheme.
I’m torn on this issue. Because I must verify book functionality on a number of devices, I own several different eReaders from various manufacturers, including a low-end black-and-white Kindle with the ads enabled (I was feeling cheap the day I bought it!), and I must say that they are relatively inoffensive. They are displayed at full-screen when the Kindle is off (currently the ad is for the new Kindle Fire HD), and take up maybe three-quarters of an inch at the bottom of the menu screen, and never display while reading a book.
I tend to think that, over time, Amazon would make a ton of money from selling advertising—significantly more than the opt-out fee for each device. On the other hand, I feel a bit of mild outrage that they would sell a product and then force buyers to view advertising on it. It’s like Hulu Plus—I have a subscription to it because my 8-year-old likes to watch cartoons on it, but even though I pay for it, I am still forced to watch their commercials, and, what’s worse, they have a terrible throughput rate—there is constant lag that I never experience from Netflix, which doesn’t show any commercials. My TV, laptop, and desktop computer don’t come with forced advertising from the device vendor (I expect commercials on free TV stations and even ads on free-access websites, but am similarly annoyed by commercials on paid channels); why should my eReader/tablet come with vendor-supplied ads that I am forced to view?
So yes, display all the ads you want on my ad-enabled Kindle that I bought at a discount specifically with the intent of allowing such ads; I ignore them the same way I ignore banner ads on web pages—they don’t even register in my peripheral vision—but to force ads on the reader who has already paid you hundreds of dollars for the device and continues to shell out cash on a regular basis for new books, apps, and perhaps an overpriced 4G subscription? That’s just an unacceptable business practice. Bad Amazon, no doughnut!
U.S. federal courts have approved a settlement Hachette Books Group, Simon & Schuster, and HarperCollins, that booksellers may set their own pricing and that publishers may not sign contracts with retailers during the next two years which restrict pricing decisions. They also may not enter into contracts (for five years) which give specific sellers a guaranteed lower price than others.
Two more publishers, Macmillan and Penguin, refused to settle and have a court date in June. I wonder how much extra profit they and Apple will make during that time.
Read more at cnn.com.
5 August 2012
Amazon.com announced that their customers in the United Kingdom are buying 114 eBooks for every 100 print books sold on their site. This is probably attributed to the lower cost of many eBooks, though Amazon claimed that many print books that were sold were also inexpensive. There was no data indicating whether the eBooks that were sold were independently published or not, nor any information specifically indicating the price range of the eBooks sold as compared to print books.
Read more at guardian.co.uk.
Amazon has acquired Avalon Books, a publishing company founded in 1950, which publishes titles in the mystery, romance, and western genres. As a part of the purchase, Amazon acquired Avalon’s entire 3000-title backlist, which they plan to make available digitally. I wonder if they will sell them exclusively on Amazon.com, or if they will also make them available through Barnes & Noble, the iBookstore, and other venues. (View Amazon’s press release on the subject)
Read more at paidcontent.org.
This American Libraries magazine article discusses the privacy issues that have been raised by Amazon’s collection of library patron information and their unsolicited marketing of books to borrowers.
Read more at americanlibrariesmagazine.com.
Independent Publishers Group and Amazon have come to terms after their three-month-long disagreement, and IPG-distributed books are now, once again, available via Kindle.
Read more at publishersmarketplace.com.
This LA Times article points out, with a number of links, the apparent conflict of interest between British bookstore chain Waterstones and Amazon. I, too, would be interested in knowing exactly what Waterstones is thinking, or what real benefit they are getting out of this. Is this an indication that perhaps Amazon will be purchasing the bookstore chain? I cannot otherwise imagine what benefit there would be to carrying not only a competitor’s product, but a competitor’s product which specifically enables your customers to never be your customers again.
Read more at latimes.com.
A well-written and informative description of the history of the eBook pricing conspiracy between Apple and traditional publishers.
Read it at indiatimes.com.
Amazon has taken down the Kindle editions of all Independent Publishers Group titles after the two companies failed to come to an agreement regarding terms for sale of digital products. IPG indicated that Amazon wished to change the terms to substantially change the revenue that authors would see. IPG titles continue to be sold through Barnes & Noble.