Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

Thursday Midday Links: Kindle 3 Available for Order, Ships Aug 27

New Kindle 3Kindles were out of stock and most people (except Gizmodo) thought that new Kindles were around the corner. Most people were right. Kindle 3 is 21% smaller and 15% lighter. Comes in two models: 3G+wifi and Wifi and two colors: White and Graphite.   I am a little worried about the thinness of the Kindle. Kindle 2 is already pretty thin.

It has full voice support so it will read aloud the menu items and can be propelled by voice navigation.   This seems to respond to the Dept of Justice command that Universities shouldn’t buy Kindles because of their lack of accessibility for vision impaired individuals.

There are two models: a $139.00 one that has wifi only and $189 one that has 3G.   These prices are set clearly to undercut Barnes and Noble. I think Amazon did A/B testing with the refurbished models. If you recall, Amazon bought Woot and then Woot’ed Amazon Kindles for the price of $149.99.   They sold nearly 5, 000 in under nine hours.

Is it time to buy?   I did.   Even though I recently purchased a refurbished unit at the $109.99 price, I want to see the Kindle 3 myself.   I’m going to give away my Kindle 2 (refurbed unit) here on Dear Author at the end of the month.   It is possible that Amazon will drop the price of the Kindle 3 Wifi to near $100 around Christmas time or that BN / Kobo / Amazon will engage in a device price war (yay!), but I will have gotten a good 4 months of reading in on the device by then.

One other thing that I bought was the case.   At $59.99, the case is not cheap but I really feel like I need one.   What sent me over the edge was that these new cases have an integrated booklight that runs off the power of the Kindle itself.   This is pretty amazing to me. I got the Kindle 3 one, in case you were wondering.

Integrated Kindle light

Interview with Bezos in USA Today revealed a few interesting nuggets:

  • Bezos expects Kindle sales to exceed paperback sales in nine to twelve months
  • When asked why Kindle doesn’t follow epub, Bezos pulls out a lame ass answer that the current format allows for incorporation of new things at a fast rate such as Whispersync and font changing.   Seriously, who is he kidding here?
  • Color screens are not ready for primetime. I take issue with this as well because I have seen the Mirasol screens in person and they are freaking gorgeous.

****

Pearson, the parent of Penguin, has had a great first half of the year.

Sales at Penguin for the period ending June 30 rose 9% to  £493 million ($764 million), while operating profit more than doubled to  £44 million ($68 million), compared to  £21 million ($33 million) at this point a year ago. In the U.S., Penguin’s market share also grew, from 11.9% to 12.4%, and e-book sales growth more than tripled.

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Torstar, Harlequin's parent, had higher revenues at the end of the 2nd Quarter. From the press release was this part relevant to Harlequin:

Book Publishing revenue was $117.9 million in the second quarter of 2010, down $6.2 million from $124.1 million in the second quarter of 2009. Excluding the impact of the strong Canadian dollar, Book Publishing revenues were up $6.2 million in the quarter. The North America Direct-To-Consumer and Overseas divisions had revenue growth in the second quarter that was partially offset by lower North America Retail revenues.

and

Harlequin’s 2010 outlook continues to be for relatively stable year over year results, including the negative earnings impact of foreign exchange. The growth in the North America digital sales and the acquisition of the other half of the German joint venture in April 2010 will offset the expected decline from the Softbank contribution, lower North America Retail volumes and the negative impact of foreign exchange.

*****

Amazon and Facebook are collaborating.

So when you activate the feature, you'll see a dedicated Amazon Facebook page within the recommendations section of your account. For example, you'll see the most popular books, DVDs, and more that are listed in your Friend's Facebook profile. So if you like Radiohead, you can see which one of your friends also likes the band. You'll also see upcoming birthdays and find your Facebook friends' Amazon Wish Lists more easily. And you'll get gift suggestions for your friends based on their Facebook profiles.

This is a natural extension of Amazon's consumer outreach program. Note Brian O'Leary's piece on Amazon's competencies versus publisher competencies.

*****

Sarah Weinman writes that Random House's deal with Janet Evanovich is a risky one. Apparently Evanovich's sales are declining (not surprising given how many of her core readers are feeling antsy about the sameness to each book. I'm not even convinced Evanovich is completely writing these books anymore.   I wonder if her daughter is assisting her in crafting the stories).

Fearless Fifteen sold about 977,000 copies, and Sizzling Sixteen, published last month, appears to be on track to hit a similar sales figure, but a big part of Evanovich’s sales come from her extensive backlist, something Random House does not yet have. So if hardcover sales decline, there is no revenue from earlier titles that Random House can use as a buffer.

*****

Richard Curtis, agent and owner of e-Reads, a digital publishing house, notes that Random House's threats against Wylie may be all sound and fury but no action given that Random House made vague threats against the Stryon deal with Open Road and then released those e-rights about four months later. As Curtis says, the first maxim in the law is to not make a threat which you aren't prepared to follow. If I were Random House, I would wait until a poorly funded agent made such a move and then sue that agent and author into oblivion.

*****

Time says its time for digital sales to be counted in the bestseller lists. NYTimes says that its already in the process of figuring something out. The problem may be that Amazon, Apple, and Google may not want to share raw data.

*****

Apple doesn't even want to acknowledge some books exist. The iBookstore has a top free/top paid sales chart and up until two days ago, four erotica titles were on the top paid sales chart. Then they magically disappeared, replaced by non erotica titles. If you recall, Steve Jobs believes that the iProducts should be a place free from porn and if you want porn, you can get some other device.

*****

Finally, this would be an awesome movie. Someone make it, please.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

45 Comments

  1. Melissa
    Jul 29, 2010 @ 09:20:15

    I just bought the Kindle 3 as well, I went with the graphite with 3G. I have an original Kindle so I am excited to see the upgrades. I also plan on getting the cover with the light, it looks easy to use and convenient which are both important to me.

    Does anyone know how to transfer the Kindle content or do I have to send each file separately from the “Manage Your Kindle” page? Also, does anyone know how to use the new folder system (aka collections)? Where do I set them up?

  2. Jane
    Jul 29, 2010 @ 09:23:36

    @Melissa: If the books on your Kindle were purchased through Amazon, just use the Manage your kindle page. If not, you’ll need to attach your Kindle to your computer and drag off each file that you emailed to yourself or that someone emailed to you.

    Collections are set up on the device itself.

  3. Sandia
    Jul 29, 2010 @ 09:26:30

    I’m so excited! I’ve been on my Kindle 1 since a long time ago! I’ve been waiting for a reason to get a newer version, and K2 wasn’t reason enough, but with the smaller form factor and the wifi only option, I’ll be getting K3 for sure!!!! I don’t know if I want to buy the first batch though, there’s always the fear of small buggy things happening with the first shipments.

  4. Amy
    Jul 29, 2010 @ 09:28:31

    Ah, a new Kindle a month after I got mine. I’ll wait for Kindle 4.

    Love the Austen mashup.

  5. Melissa
    Jul 29, 2010 @ 09:29:40

    @Jane,

    Thanks! I buy most of my books from Amazon because I read on my iPhone too. I will use this as an excuse to finally organize my ebooks into collections, right now I have too many on my Kindle to navigate easily (29 pages worth!).

  6. Carolyn
    Jul 29, 2010 @ 09:36:47

    Sorry to be so ignorant, but what is the difference between 3G @ $189 and wifi @ $139? I’m using the Kindle PC app right now, so I have plenty of books on my computer; could I get non-Amazon bought books into the WiFi?

    I was searching for more info, couldn’t find anything ’cause I’m clueless with electronics, and thought – I’ll email Jane, she’ll know and maybe she’ll use my letter. And she’d beaten me to it.

    Thanks Jane. :-)

  7. Jane
    Jul 29, 2010 @ 09:39:41

    @Carolyn: ha! That’s a really good question. The 3G+wifi version means you have a connection to the internet and thus your Kindle books and the Amazon store wherever there is AT&T coverage.

    With the wifi unit, you only have a connection where there are ATT wifi hotspots or free wifi (or any secured wifi you have access to).

    If you read mostly at home, you probably won’t miss the always connected feature of the pricier model but if you travel, you might want the one with 3G. Also, you can use the Kindle to browse the web even if it is kind of slow and buggy.

  8. Portia Da Costa
    Jul 29, 2010 @ 09:45:25

    The new Kindles are available to order from Amazon.co.uk now and on 27th August we Brits will finally have our own UK Kindle Store too. :)

    I’m very excited by this, and I nearly preordered a Kindle this morning, but I think I will wait and see what’s offered in the UK store before I take the plunge.

    Also, as Sandia says, there might be bugs with the early ones and I’d like to read about other people’s experiences before I commit and add a second reader to my collection.

  9. Hannah
    Jul 29, 2010 @ 09:50:51

    I wish Amazon had a trade-in program where you could send in your Kindle 1 or 2 and get credit towards the Kindle 3–I suppose I could just sell my Kindle 2 though. I could probably do without the 3G network because I have good access for wireless, so I’d go for the wireless only model. Though having the 3g network on the Kindle 2 is nice because I don’t have web access on my cell phone.

  10. KJ
    Jul 29, 2010 @ 10:07:20

    The new kindle looks very cool! I may break down and buy this one.

    Question: When you say side load, does that mean putting your books into Calibre and loading them onto your Kindle? Or another way?

  11. Jane
    Jul 29, 2010 @ 10:08:42

    @KJ: Yep, Calibre has two ways of interfacing with the Kindle. The first way is the traditional “send to main memory” and the other is “email to your Kindle” So you can email the book to your Kindle directly from the Calibre interface. LOVE THAT.

  12. Ridley
    Jul 29, 2010 @ 10:09:07

    It’s tempting to grab a K3 just for the voice navigation, but then I’d have a bunch of ADE encrypted epub files I couldn’t use. It might even still be worth it.

    Love the latest Apple news. Between the jailbreaking case, Antennagate and this bookshop censorship Apple’s finally showing its true colors as The Man. So much for being the quirky underdog outsider. They’re as alternative as a pastel sweater twinset now.

  13. KJ
    Jul 29, 2010 @ 10:14:15

    @Jane:

    How cool! I was hoping it was that easy, since I buy books from a lot of different places. I think that may have just sold me. lol Thanks Jane!

  14. Maili
    Jul 29, 2010 @ 10:28:49

    K3 in graphite does look sexy, just enough to pry my fingers off the Sony 505. Is it possible to convert .epub to whatever format the Kindle uses?

  15. Ridley
    Jul 29, 2010 @ 10:33:09

    @Maili:

    So long as they have no DRM, it’s an easy thing to convert formats in Calibre. The tricky bit is stripping DRM.

  16. meoskop
    Jul 29, 2010 @ 11:15:13

    I like my PRS-505 a lot but the newer Sony models don’t interest me – this Kindle is catching my attention for the screen resolution. I just wonder if the buttons at the bottom are annoying. And really, I do wonder about having a device that can be externally controlled. Could Amazon decide to disable content bought in e-pub and converted? For me, it’s a consideration of DRM world.

  17. Has
    Jul 29, 2010 @ 11:18:54

    I think I am going to get the K3 – this announcement cements it. No Agency pricing for the UK store.
    http://www.thebookseller.com/news/124644-amazon-to-set-e-book-prices-for-kindle-uk.html

  18. Tabitha
    Jul 29, 2010 @ 11:21:53

    I was going to order the Kindle 2 in the next week or so…but now I’m going to wait for Kindle 3 instead. Thank you!

    Okay, I have a really dumb question. For those books that has DRM, how does that work with whispersync? I have some DRM books that I can no longer access because I don’t recall which computer I used to download the book the first time so when I go to open or try to download again it says I already download it.

  19. Jane
    Jul 29, 2010 @ 11:25:32

    @Tabitha: Whispersync only works with the books you buy from Amazon. The books that you sideload or email to the Kindle can be in word, mobi and PDF (although I think the PDF conversion isn’t that great).

    The books you have with the DRM – do you know if they are mobi or ereader? Those you might be able to crack open. The Adobe Digital Edition books (PDF or ePub), you are probably out of luck.

  20. Tabitha
    Jul 29, 2010 @ 11:36:49

    @Jane – the DRM books are Adobe Digital Edition books. I thought that reading in pdf format would be easy (because I use adobe all the time at work) than mobi or ereader but I guess not huh?

    When you say you can email or sideload books to the Kindle, does that mean I can purchase books from Ellora Cave or eharlequin and send them to my Kindle to read? Sorry, the more I read about this stuff the more lost I become.

    Thanks so much for your help!

  21. Sandia
    Jul 29, 2010 @ 11:39:25

    GAK! The white one is only available as the 3G version :( What to do…. go with Graphite and get the version I want, or spend $50 more for 3G which I don’t need.

  22. Jane
    Jul 29, 2010 @ 11:45:27

    @Tabitha: If you recall where you purchased the encrypted Adobe books, you might ask them for a one time redownload allowance.

    For books from EC, Samhain, Carina Press and the like, buy Mobi. Actually, Samhain books are same price at Amazon so you might as well purchase from there. Carina Press oftentimes too. From EC and others who don’t sell through Amazon, buy mobi.

    For books from eHarlequin or other places where the books are encrypted, you have a couple of options. First, you can buy Mobi and then strip the DRM. There is a handy Calibre plugin that strips the DRM as you import the book into Calibre.

    Second, you can figure out your Kindle PID using this tool here.

    http://kindletools.prestonlee.com/

    Enter the Kindle PID into your account at Harlequin or other etailers. Then, you need to run the book through this script (kindlefix.py) to make it Kindle ready. Yes, I know. Stripping sounds more attractive by the minute.

  23. Bonnie
    Jul 29, 2010 @ 11:47:00

    Yeah, I wonder why you can’t get the cheaper one in white. Odd.

    I absolutely, do. not. need this. But I suspect, I’ll get it anyway. It looks too cool.

  24. DS
    Jul 29, 2010 @ 12:00:56

    Jane, your links in the Sarah Weinman and Richard Curtis sections are going to a DVD review on Dearauthor.

    Just a heads up.

  25. Jane
    Jul 29, 2010 @ 12:07:22

    @DS Thanks. I don’t really know what happened there.

  26. Elli
    Jul 29, 2010 @ 12:12:18

    There is a way to liberate the Adobe DRM .epub and .pdf files called Adobe inept. It’s a python script by IHeartCabbages
    and works beautifully :-) I use it all the time on my epub files so that I can back them up and load them into iBooks.

  27. Tabitha
    Jul 29, 2010 @ 12:15:31

    @Jane – thank you so much for the info!

    @Elli – thanks, I will check out the script!

  28. Janine
    Jul 29, 2010 @ 13:27:55

    @Jane: Jane, do you think it’s a good idea to get the extended warranty along with the Kindle 3? The warranty it comes with doesn’t cover drops or spills but the extended warranty does. I’ve dropped my Sony two or three times in the year and seven months that I’ve owned it, and with the Kindle being so lightweight, I’m wondering if it will be more fragile. The extended warranty is good for two years from the date of purchase and includes free shipping both ways, but it costs $49.99.

    A friend of mine has had problems with the Kindle — her device and her son’s kindle both died. Hers was sixteen months old so not under warranty. Her son’s was only four months old. She replaced them both with refurbished Kindles but her son’s replacement Kindle started glitching very shortly after he received it.

    So all of that is adding to my trepidation about buying one, although they look very enticing.

  29. Sarah
    Jul 29, 2010 @ 13:38:44

    Jane, I just bought one of the refurbed Kindles and I was wondering do you think it’s worth returning and buying a Kindle 3? I think I’m still well within the 30 days.

  30. Shannon Stacey
    Jul 29, 2010 @ 13:55:31

    I’m trying so very hard not to be tempted by the black Kindle 3. Since playing hands-on with a Kobo the other day, which is OMG so thin and light, I’ve realized the nook, while comfortable enough in the hand, is a little on the bulky and heavy side.

    I like having a dedicated device paired with an iPhone app. My husband just read a thriller on the nook he said is really good, so I’ll read it on my iPod Touch’s B&N app. (Think of a Number by John Verdon, btw.) But, since I much prefer the Kindle app to the B&N app, wouldn’t it be nice if it was a Kindle & app marriage instead of a nook & app marriage?

    But the one thing that stops me is digital library books. I buy all of my books (because the books I read are 90% MMPB or cheaper). And I’ve bought him a few. B&N has had a couple of thrillers for $3.99 I’ve picked up. But he reads mostly new, hardcover thrillers and I don’t want to spend my book money on him. I want to spend it on me.

    So, until the Kindle comes with the ability to read Overdrive’s ADE’d ePub, I’ll have to stay with the nook. (Or rather, he’ll have to stay with the nook. I’ve gone back to my iPod Touch pretty much exclusively now.)

    But I want a shiny black Kindle SO much.

  31. Kelley
    Jul 29, 2010 @ 13:55:49

    Oh I’m so bummed! I just pre-ordered this yesterday and am just now realizing that I bought the wifi only. One of the things I love about my original Kindle was that I could download books anywhere. Sigh. Back to Amazon to change my order. trudge trudge trudge

  32. Carolyn
    Jul 29, 2010 @ 14:58:39

    Thank you Jane.

    I’m pretty much homebound except for work, so I think the wifi only would work for me. I’ve pre-ordered it, so we will see. :-)

  33. MaryK
    Jul 29, 2010 @ 15:50:04

    I’m resisting the buy impulse with the possibility of Christmas price wars. :D

  34. DS
    Jul 29, 2010 @ 16:05:24

    @Janine: Kindle comes with a one year warranty and from what I’ve read on various boards customer service is pretty lenient about replacements. I bought a Kindle 1 for myself and a good friend when they were first available. They are both still working although she has mentioned the screen seems to be acting up a bit on hers.

    Should note here that I read in some filing or other that Amazon made that it was anticipated the average Kindle would have a 2 year life. It didn’t say if this was anticipated because it might stop working or just people buying upgrades. Sorry, didn’t keep the link.

    I’m tempted by 3. I have a bunch of $25 gift certificates from my Amazon credit card so this isn’t as extravagant as it sounds. I may get my friend one as well if her husband doesn’t take the hints she has been dropping.

    Oops, the New York Times link is taking me to a 404 page on this blog also.

    And I noticed the other day that Wylie’s Odyssey Editions went live 7/21/10 and they don’t seem to be doing shabby at all at $9.99.

  35. Likari
    Jul 29, 2010 @ 17:31:50

    I ordered the wifi with a burgundy red cover. I’ve been waiting and waiting, reading everything on my PC in different formats, unable to decide which reader to buy.

    I was leaning toward a Kindle for two reasons – Amazon makes it so easy to buy and I love that they give authors 70% on independent sales.

    The 139 price was the tipping point for me.

    I just thought of something – I can probably use my mifi with the wifi Kindle, right? It’s Verizon, not AT&T, but that shouldn’t make a difference…

  36. Janine
    Jul 29, 2010 @ 18:35:47

    @DS: Thanks so much for this info. Maybe what happened to my friend was a fluke but it does give me some pause.

  37. Tinabelle
    Jul 29, 2010 @ 22:28:26

    I purchased my Kindle 1 in May of 2008 and it is still going strong. Have never had one lick of trouble with it, but I know I am living on borrowed time. It is so tempting to buy the new K3 and the price sure is right. I paid $399 for my K1 but never regretted it. It was worth every penny and has brought me many, many hours of reading pleasure. I know that technology changes so quickly and prices always fall, but you just have to accept that and take the plunge. The long battery life and the increased book capacity along with the ability to organize your books into collections sure is tempting. What to do? What to do?

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  39. Annmarie
    Jul 30, 2010 @ 04:24:59

    I gave my K2 to my SIL. She loved it so much, she convinced HER cousin to buy one. I read MY kindle books on my iPod Touch & we all 3 share a kindle account.

    Both my SIL & her cousin were picked last week to receive random device upgrades.

    Also, Amazon has replaced my SIL’s kindle 3 times at no charge (and I didn’t buy the extended warranty) when she dropped it. Her kindle is about 2 yrs old.

    I didn’t like reading from the kindle. But. I want this latest version. A. Lot.

  40. Jane
    Jul 30, 2010 @ 04:29:48

    @Sarah: I guess it depends on what you bought the refurbed at. If you bought it at $149, I’d probably move up. If you bought it at 109.99, it might be a tougher call. You could probably sell your current Kindle on craigslist or ebay for what you bought it at and a little more.

  41. Jane
    Jul 30, 2010 @ 04:32:17

    @Janine: I’ve always been under the belief that you don’t buy the extended warranties but if it makes you feel safer using your Kindle, that’s probably not a ton of money for peace of mind.

    Having said that I do think Amazon’s CS is pretty amazing.

  42. ms bookjunkie
    Jul 30, 2010 @ 06:11:08

    Does anyone know if the Kindle UK store will be UK-only, or UK-and-EU? Because if it includes EU I just might get me a K3…and I really thought I’d never ever EVER drink the Kindleade!

  43. Azure
    Jul 30, 2010 @ 07:30:30

    *sigh* I finally took the plunge after swearing I wouldn’t buy a Kindle…and now they come out with something even better. I love the idea of that light–although from my experience with the LightWedge on the Sony 505, I do wonder how much more weight that will add to the device. I wish they’d have some sort of trade-in system so I could get one of the new ones at a discount, because I can’t really justify buying a new one.

  44. Janine
    Jul 30, 2010 @ 17:03:15

    @Jane: Thanks. I’m probably going to wait a few months for the bugs to be ironed out. If I can stand to wait that long.

  45. Shaheen
    Jul 31, 2010 @ 15:47:38

    [through gritted teeth] Christmas – I’m waiting for Christmas. I promised myself on my birthday (in June) that I would buy myself an e-reader of some variety by Christmas.

    I had it all sorted out – I wanted a nook, because I used to buy a lot of books in pdb format from Fictionwise with their lovely 5% micropay rebate system or more (usually more).

    Now that they have stopped, I have to rethink. nook or Kindle, Kobo or Sony.

    Aaaaaarghhhhhhh.

    Too many choices.

    Maybe there will be one clear winner by Christmas.

    Maybe.

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