Oct 24 2010
Amazon used the Kindle boards to deliver two new announcements. The first is that magazine and newspapers would soon be available for purchase using a Kindle App. Currently magazines and newspapers are only available for Kindle device owners. Second is Kindle will incorporate the “lending” feature. This is a feature that Barnes and Noble launched with the nook. The Kindle lending feature is the same as the nook. It is for fourteen days and you can only lend a book once. Lending can be turned on and off by the publisher and likely (although it is not for certain) will abide by geographical limitations.
What about those pesky geo restrictions? The Bookseller gives instructions on how to bypass Kindle geographic restrictions. All you need is a valid US address.
The Bookseller was able to crack Amazon’s territorial controls, buying 10 US Kindle editions, all of which have different UK publishers, with different rights deals in place. The purchases were made by inputting a valid US address, but with a credit card linked to a UK address.
I tested this for a US user with the UK Amazon catalog and it worked for me. You just need a valid country address which you change in the Manage Your Kindle section (toward the bottom). Obviously, this isn’t an ideal solution to no geographical limitations because you have to register/deregister your device or app every time you want to read a book bought in a different Amazon store and then re-download your content. Tedious and probably not worth it but for occasional use. (I bought Alexanda Potter book which is not available in the US. Potter is one of Maili’s favorite chic lit authors). The good thing is that readers can now use this to buy books that are only available to them via illegal means.
While many publishers think the iPad may save them from Amazon, there are curiously few digital magazines being sold for the iPad, a device that has sold over 7.5 million units. According to one report, digital magazines outside the tech field (like Wired or Popular Science) are selling less than 1% than the paper counterparts. This may be in part due to the expensive nature of the apps or it may be that the magazine public isn’t interested in digital versions of the magazine or the lack of a subscription based app. It will be interesting to see if the new magazine/newspaper access through the Kindle will increase subscription numbers.
Barnes and Noble isn’t throwing in the towel on ebook sales even though some people think that the nook is doomed for failure. Next week it is anticipated that BN will announce a color eink reader in the price range of around $249. There are a couple of problems for BN. First, there is no global presence and one advantage of digital books is the global reach. (h/t Mike Cane although I couldn’t find his link on this). Take Jeannie Lin’s book, Butterfly Swords, for example. She and her book were featured on the front page of the English insert of Vietnam’s largest newspaper. Second, if agency pricing keeps up and digital sales grow while paper sales decrease, BN is seeing a loss of overall revenue as it is only getting 30% of a sale versus 50% of a sale (this is not an original thought of mine. I read this somewhere but failed to save the link). Still, BN’s nook sales are strong and to ignore the digital movement in favor of just paper book sales seems foolish as well.
In anticipation of the holidays, the ereading vendors and Apple have been firming up distribution channel deals. The following physical retailers will carry the ereading devices. Let me know if I have missed any and I will update this post.
- Walmart: Kobo, nook, iPad, iTouch
- Target: Kindle, iPad, iTouch
- Best Buy: Kindle, iPad, iTouch, nook, Sony devices
- Staples: Kindle
Will one of these devices be part of a Black Friday deal?