Tag Archives: Kindle

Are ‘phablets’ a rival for e-reading devices?

The above video is a shocking yet accurate depiction of the growing smartphone-obsessed culture which is becoming apparent within society. The New York Times posted this intriguing article a couple of weeks ago, ‘More Connected, Yet More Alone‘, and talks of Charlene deGuzman’s reasons behind making the video. Nick Bilton, the person who wrote the article, speculates whether smartphones are having their ‘TV-in-the-kitchen-moment’?

From the video, I can definitely see how it relates to today’s society. Particularly with social media playing a prominent role in people’s day-to-day lives, and the recent developments in mobile phone technology over the years, it is so much more easier to connect virtually than it ever has been; so much so that I believe that people are becoming obsessed with it. The day after the New York Times posted this article, The Guardian published an article stating that phablets are big in Asia-Pacific, equalling tablets and laptops combined.

The Guardian reported that 25.2 million phablets – ‘large-screened phones with screen sizes of between 5in and 7in diagonally’ – are shipped in the Asia-Pacific (excl. Japan), roughly the same amount of devices shipped as tablets (12.6 million) and laptops (12.7 million) combined (figures from research company, IDC). It is believed that it is Samsung’s Galaxy Note, inspired by Dell’s Streak phone in 2010, which has truly sparked the surge in phablet technology.

Looking at the evidence, it made me wonder how it will affect publishing in the future…

I wrote about this earlier in the year with my blog post: ‘Adaptive Web Technology and Publishing‘ and even the figures mentioned there stated that by 2016, 2.1 billion mobile browsers will use HTML5 browsers, therefore adding to the current 17% of the world’s population which has a mobile subscription.

As it can be seen from the articles in the NYT and The Guardian, more phablets than laptops and tablets combined are being shipped in Eastern parts of the world – imagine what the figures would be should Western parts of the world be included, too. For me, it poses the question as to whether e-reading devices such as the Kindle could soon become old news, especially if technology is moving towards a smartphone future…

Publishers are already recognising that ensuring their content is available through smartphones is adamant. For example, academic publisher, Cambridge University Press’s ‘Cambridge Journals Online’ platform has launched a Mobile version. In addition, publishers such as Penguin have launched various Apps to use on mobiles and tablet devices, Kindle has an App which is available to use on devices other than Kindles, and with social media sites such as Twitter, publishers are able to interact with the end-consumer on a regular basis.

What’s to say, that we ourselves, aren’t publishers? For those who use Twitter, Facebook, and other social media outlets, every post, tweet, and status is published for the world to see. Phablets make this easy and with the growing obsession of ‘connecting’ with one another, it appears that we are increasingly moving into a world where access to content is constantly in demand.

Personally, I do not believe that phablets are a serious threat to e-reading devices… yet. The article from The Guardian only takes into account the figures for Asia-Pacific, and it is already common knowledge that the technological market is by far greater and more advanced than other parts of the world. E-reading devices such as the Kindle will continue to develop, and while the ‘I Forgot My Phone’ video shows people using their smartphones, not Kindles/iPads etc., I believe that the majority of people may not necessarily make the link of reading books on their smartphones just yet. Saying that, I do feel that the concept of publishing on a wide scale is pretty much there when it comes to smartphone technology.


Kindle Matchbook: is Amazon’s brand new programme another blow to booksellers?

Amazon is launching a new scheme which could potentially pose yet another threat to other booksellers. IPG’s Children’s Publisher of the Year award winner, Nosy Crow, posted an article on their blog today, informing people of the internet of Amazon’s latest programme: Kindle Matchbook.

The new programme will only be available for customers in the USA and will allow customers to purchase former print purchases, but in ebook form for a reduced price of $2.99, $1.99, $0.99 or for free.

Whilst this will undoubtedly be great for those avid Amazon regulars, Tom at Nosy Crow commented on the fact that ebooks will be devalued as a result and we shall return to past arguments that consumers will come to expect books (whether ‘e’ or print form) to be low in price, thus they will be less inclined to buy books at a greater price from their local bookseller on the high street. On the other hand, the question of whether customers will want to buy another copy of a book which they already have is debatable. In addition, Nosy Crow’s blog article speculates the fact that consumers will be more likely to buy print books from Amazon so they can get the ebook version at a cheaper rate (or in some cases, for free); however, surely Amazon will be selling their products at a loss rather than at a profit (which of course then makes less of a profit for publishers).

The main question is: how will this affect mortar-and-bricks booksellers (or other online retailers for that matter)?

Certainly, it is apparent that booksellers are changing the way they practice bookselling to stay in touch with its customers. And in comparison with Amazon, it is without a doubt that they offer a greater service to customers. A knowledgeable and enthusiastic sales assistant in a bookshop is by far better than a pop-up post on a website. As Nosy Crow’s post suggests: mortar-and-bricks retailers’ main products are print books, whereas retailers such as Amazon are trying to make ebooks their greatest product; therefore if booksellers were to introduce a programme or scheme equivalent to Kindle Matchbook, booksellers technically would not make a loss, as their main sellers are physical books.

Looking at the positive side, I think it can definitely be assumed that Amazon’s new venture will provide booksellers with an opportunity to develop further and therefore create an ever better experience for its customers. Yes, it is a shame that bookshops are having to drastically adapt and change to stay alive in the current industry, but publishing as a whole is not the only industry changing out there. In addition, the programme does specify that it is only available in the USA at the moment. In a way, it can be said that this gives British booksellers an advantage (and a head start)! Game on, is what I say!


The digital boom gets festive!

I read on The Bookseller last week that Hachette UK saw 250,000 eBook sales on Christmas Day and Boxing Day. The head of digital at Hachette, George Walkley, stated that figures were up 86% on the previous year’s directorial sales figure, and that the sales had not affected the sales of print books.

He hinted that the boost is due to the strong sales of ereading devices pre-Christmas, and I have to agree with him on that. With the launch of the Kindle Fire HD and iPad Mini, I can imagine that they were two of the key presents that millions of people woke up to on Christmas morning. Naturally, people would have wanted to fill their new shiny devices with eBooks (I know I did). The fact that Walkley also mentioned that print books sold ‘exceptionally well’ shows that despite the hype surrounding ereaders, print books are still popular!


Kindle ebook sales trumps Amazon print sales

Kindle ebook sales trumps Amazon print sales

Taken from The Guardian, August 2012, comes the revelation that Kindle ebook sales have overtaken Amazon’s print sales.

Of course ever since the invention of the ebook and the ever-changing advance of technology, the future of print has come under jeopardy as the world’s want and hunger for ‘the latest gadget’ or ‘next big thing’ has created a ‘reading renaissance’ and print sales have evidently taken a back seat. Or, have they?

Whilst there is no denying the popularity of the ebook, print still remains in demand, particularly from an academic perspective. With print, the material will always be there and is a fail safe method of ensuring the work is never lost; whereas with digital, the risk of the file becoming corrupted or lost, the system crashing or software failing to work is always going to be there.

What’s more is that when downloading an ebook for your device, you actually don’t own it and are technically only renting it – another problem especially if the file gets wiped from Amazon and thus, your copy (and money spent) would be lost. I know which I’d prefer…

The success of the ebook is such that two years post-Kindle’s release on the market, ebook sales are greater than hardbacks and paperbacks combined with 114 ebooks being sold to every 100 print books. However, these figures merely reflect Amazon’s sales and not other sellers which undoubtedly allow us to question whether ebook sales as a whole really sell more than print.

One thing’s for sure is that the public like the privacy which the Kindle brings – no one knows what you’re reading, and for all those Fifty Shades fans out there, ebooks are of course ideal and would have definitely contributed to the boom on ebook sales.