David Kirkpatrick

February 4, 2010

Is Amazon in an e-book panic?

Filed under: Arts, Business, Media, Technology — Tags: , , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 4:12 pm

Yes is a very fair answer. Last week it got into, and lost, a scrap with Macmillan, one of the largest English  language publishers. Possibly because of Apple’s iPad announcement and demo.

From the second link:

It all started last week when Apple CEO Steve Jobs trotted out the iPad, dubbed by some as a Kindle killer. Major publishers voiced their support for the iPad, including Penguin, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Hachette Group, and Macmillan.

Then Jobs showed off one of the iPad’s critical apps, the iBook e-reader, and flashed prices for e-books at around $15. It was a swipe at Amazon.com because publishers (Macmillan being one of them) had been trying to get Amazon.com to raise its e-book price from $10.

And:

On Friday, Amazon.com stunned the publishing world by pulling Macmillan books, both Kindle editions and printed books, from its shelves in an apparent strong-arm tactic to show Macmillan that Amazon.com continues to set the rules. At the very least, Amazon.com wanted to show that Macmillan, which is among the biggest publishers in the U.S., still needs Amazon.com.

One would have hoped that Amazon.com had spent considerable time weighing this decision. Instead, it looked like a giant company suddenly deciding to play chicken with another giant company—and Amazon.com flinched. On Sunday, only two days after pulling Macmillan books, Amazon.com relented.

Now there’s this news from the seemingly flailing e-tailer:

Is Amazon Building a Superkindle?
New York Times, Feb. 3, 2010

Amazon has acquired Touchco, a New York start-up that was developing flexible, transparent, force-sensitive multitouch panels.

The acquisition indicates what Amazon might try to do next in response to Apple’s iPad announcement: a future full-color, more-rugged multitouch Kindle.


Read Original Article>>

January 31, 2010

E-book price issues already cropping up at Amazon

The e-book space should get really interesting over the next year or so. Amazon is dumping Macmillan’s hard copy and e-books over an e-book pricing issue. Right now all e-books are $9.99 at Amazon and Macmillan wants to charge more for e-books at the outset before lowering prices.

This move is pretty significant because here’s part of Macmillan’s roster: “Macmillan is one of the world’s largest English-language publishers. Its divisions include St. Martin’s Press, itself one of the largest publishers in the U.S.; Henry Holt & Co., one of the oldest publishers in America; Farrar, Straus & Giroux; and Tor, the leading science-fiction publisher.” That’s a lot of quality books that Amazon is willing to lose over a couple of bucks.

Is Amazon running scared from looming competition a bit? I’d say yes.

From the link:

Macmillan CEO John Sargent said he was told Friday that its books would be removed from Amazon.com, as would e-books for Amazon’s Kindle e-reader. Books will be available on Amazon.com through private sellers and other third parties, Sargent said.

Sargent met with Amazon officials Thursday to discuss the publisher’s new pricing model for e-books. He wrote in a letter to Macmillan authors and literary agents Saturday that the plan would allow Amazon to make more money selling Macmillan books and that Macmillan would make less. He characterized the dispute as a disagreement over “the long-term viability and stability of the digital book market.”

Also:

But, he wrote, the digital book industry needs to create a business model that provides equal opportunities for retailers. Under Macmillan’s model, to be put in place in March, e-books will be priced from $12.99 to $14.99 when first released and prices will change over time.

For its part, Amazon wants to keep a lid on prices as competitors line up to challenge its dominant position in a rapidly expanding market. The company did not immediately return messages seeking comment Saturday.

Barnes & Noble’s Nook and Sony Corp.’s e-book readers are already on sale. But the latest and most talked about challenger is Apple Inc., which just introduced the long-awaited iPad tablet computer and a new online book store modeled on iTunes. Apple CEO Steve Jobs, in an interview with The Wall Street Journal, suggested publishers may offer some e-titles to Apple before they are allowed to go on sale at Amazon.com

January 28, 2010

Watch out Kindle …

Filed under: Business, Media, Technology — Tags: , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:09 am

the iPad is about to start breathing down your neck.

From the link:

The Kindle DX is the same size as the iPad. It has a black and white E-Ink screen, 4 gigabytes of internal storage, 3G access and costs $489. Meanwhile, the cheapest version of the iPad has a full-color touch screen, a powerful processor and graphics chip, 16 gigabytes of flash storage, Wi-Fi and sells for $499.

The cheaper iPad might not have 3G or the same battery life as the Kindle DX (up to 4 days), but on every other count it wins. It has both a gorgeous screen and vastly more functionality. And, while Amazon has established an excellent, easy way to buy books, iTunes, which already has some 125 million customers, will give it a run for its money.