Amazon Introduces Better Kindle Revenue for Magazine and Newspaper Publishers

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Amazon is set to announce new revenue share terms for magazine and newspaper publishers that will give them a more favorable share of Kindle revenues. The terms for the new revenue sharing require the publication to be readable on all Kindle devices and applications, and in all geographies for which the publisher has rights. Amazon also announced the Beta release of the Kindle Publishing for Periodicals tool, which allows publishers to quickly and easily add their newspaper or magazine to the Kindle Store.

While reactions to newspapers and magazines on the Kindle have been generally positive, there have been some legitimate complaints about the Kindle editions. For one, some sections available in the print edition are not in the digital editions. There are complaints of formatting issues, etc.

Amazon requiring wider distribution and other improvements for these Kindle editions is something we can certainly get behind them on.

Kindle to Enable Lending

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The Kindle team announced in a forum post that they will be enabling lending functions in Kindle. Lending is a function that the Barnes and Noble Nook has had for some time.

Each book can be lent once for a period of two weeks and the lender cannot read the book during this period. Publishers will be able to decide whether or not a book can be lent. As one user commented on Techcrunch’s post on the subject:

The “laws of copyright” and fair use don’t seem to extend to the DMCA. Since Amazon’s ebooks are DRM’ed and locked to your account and device, “fair use” is whatever the publisher’s allow.

I tend to agree. I understand why publishers want to make sure you aren’t copying books and spreading them all over the place, but some of the restrictions are extremely disappointing. The lend feature is expanding our fair use rights, but by only allowing us to use it once, and by limiting it by publisher preference, I have to wonder how they think they will encourage more people to move to e-books, especially when they often cost more than paperbacks.

Reasons Not to Get an E-Reader

The front of the Amazon Kindle DX
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Recently, I was reading David Carnoy of CNET, who wrote an article entitled, Why You Shouldn’t Get an E-Reader. I’m not sure I agree with Carnoy fully, but he makes some interesting points. He divides those who buy readers into three categories

  • Owners who rarely spend any time using their devices
  • Those who do some reading
  • Heavy Users who find the Kindle convenient for storing a lot of reading material

The issue with the Kindle, like many e-books is an emotional one of pricing. As I mentioned previously, it is not just the purchasers, but the writers and publishers trying to feel through this issue. You can get an older, used, perfectly wonderful book for pennies, but the same book in ebook format is at full list price. I have that sticker shock myself. It took me two weeks to pick my first book for that reason. But there was still plenty to read.

Teleread made the most useful response. Nothing about the points made are different than any other type of gadget. Some people always use a gadget more than others. E-Book sales are growing. The Kindle numbers are up, as are the numbers of other readers.

To rebut Carnoy, we have Steve O’Hear of TechCrunch, in his article of last month. He points out that an e-book reader like the Kindle, unlike the iPad or such, is a device that allows you to focus on the task of reading without the distractions of multitasking…multiple windows, etc. These devices have screens that are less prone to eye-strain and, while they have internet, are not designed as internet devices. The battery life is also measured in days or weeks,  as opposed to hours.

So, I will keep going back to both sides. Those who think an e-reader is obsolete in the age of the iPad, and those who see the benefit of a dedicated device. What do you think?

One Analyst Predicts the Kindle will Sell 5 Million Units this Year – Why?

Amazon Kindle eBook Reader
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Despite the popularity of the Amazon Kindle, Amazon has never provided any figures on how the item is actually selling. The most detailed bit of information they did provide was that “More new generation Kindles were ordered in the first four weeks of availability than in the same timeframe following any other Kindle launch. And Amazon customers are now ordering more Kindles than anything else in the store.

Analyst Douglas Anmuth estimates Amazon will sell about five million Kindles this year due to its more appealing prices and redesign. And Amazon offering apps for all major mobile and OS platforms means that the Kindle store has a good chance of being the top seller of eBooks, which is their bigger goal, we gather.

Believing that there is a market for cheaper, dedicated electronic readers and more expensive multifunction devices such as tablets is certainly a viable one. I have a smartphone. It does a lot. But I still bought a Kindle. And I have yet to get a tablet. But the differences between the three: smartphone, tablet, electronic reader is a topic for another article.

Back to Amazon and the Kindle, Amazon sells the Kindle and Kindle books in over 150 countries, and its cellular based Whispernet service in over a hundred of those. The new Kindle supports wi-fi, which means the Kindle becomes useful even without the 3G. It’s competitors have limited presence outside the U.S. Amazon has the distribution and power to make an international electronic bookstore work.

What the Kindle doesn’t offer, but could, and hopefully will, is support for the popular EPUB format, as well as library book support. But, ultimately, it is still the best combination of value and features in the market.