Tag Archives: Amazon Kindle

Amazon’s Ad-supported Kindle Price: Too High?

TUAW on the release of an ad-supported Kindle from Amazon:

“Still, the $114 price point seems a little silly; $99 would be a much better psychological buy-in point.”

I think that $25 is a fair reflection of the value of the ads. Remember, these ads are home-screen only, and not in the books. Pundits constantly over-estimate the amount of revenue that ads can bring in, and the expectation that Amazon could price a Kindle at $99 based on these kinds of ads is wrong.

No one in the world knows more than Amazon about pricing for a profit.

Apple’s subscription system: A mess

From ‘Apple Just Fd Over Online Music Subs’ | paidContent:

“Music and video services do not have a 30 percent margin to give away to Apple NSDQ: AAPL. It means you’ll see them exit the market on iOS devices, paving the way for Apple’s own iTunes streaming.”

Does the subscription system include music content? No one knows, and Apple isn’t saying.

Does it cover content sold piece by piece, like books? This quote:

“We are now requiring that if an app offers customers the ability to purchase books outside of the app, that the same option is also available to customers from within the app with in-app purchase.”

from Apple’s Trudy Muller certainly says it does. But no one really knows, and Apple isn’t saying.

I doubt that Amazon could follow this rule, even if it wanted to. What’s more, the only ambiguity in that statement is around “outside of the app” – because if that also means “in a browser from any machine” then Kindle on iOS is dead in the water. Is Apple confident enough of its own position to do that?

Of course, some publishers will just go for it. Apple is betting that the publishers will see the opportunity as great, and the risk of being left behind as greater still. The fear factor of missing out will loom large.

But it will leave a sour taste, and publishers will know they’ve been screwed over. In the short term, that won’t matter much. But when a company keeps playing hardball constantly, insisting on the same cut no matter what service it provides because it’s in a position of power, sooner or later it gets bitten back.

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Apple denies content purchasing change, confirms content purchasing change

Apple’s Trudy Muller, talking to John Paczkowski:

“We have not changed our developer terms or guidelines,”

But wait…

“We are now requiring that if an app offers customers the ability to purchase books outside of the app, that the same option is also available to customers from within the app with in-app purchase.” (my emphasis)

So there’s been no change in the rules, but we are now requiring developers to do things differently. But that’s not a change in the rules. Oh no. Citizens, we have always been at war with Eastasia.

Yes, this destroys the model that Kindle currently employs. Kindle offers customers the ability to purchase books outside of the app, either via Safari or a desktop browser. That clearly means that Amazon must now offer the same content via Apple’s in-app purchasing, delivering Apple its 30% due.

We shouldn’t be surprised, because Jean Louis Gassee wrote about this in January:

“Three months ago, without explanation, Apple began withholding approval of new apps using the subscription loophole. Wondering publishers were left without answers.

Then came terse emails recalling the §11.1 of the App Store Review Guidelines :

11.2     Apps utilizing a system other than the In App Purchase API (IAP) to purchase content, functionality, or services in an app will be rejected

with the following the punch line :

For existing apps already on the App Store, we are providing a grace period to bring your app into compliance with this guideline. To ensure your app remains on the App Store, please submit an update that uses the In App Purchase API for purchasing content, by June 30, 2011.”

Apple has a perfect right to do this, of course. But my bet is that either Amazon will ultimately sue, or it will offer content through IAP – at 30% 42% more than it usually charges. I wonder who will blink first.

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Amazon caves in to Macmillan, pouts and sulks

Macmillan E-books – kindle Discussion Forum:

We want you to know that ultimately, however, we will have to capitulate and accept Macmillan’s terms because Macmillan has a monopoly over their own titles, and we will want to offer them to you even at prices we believe are needlessly high for e-books.

Someone should tell them that companies which have a monopoly over their own ebook-reading hardware and use DRM to tie books to that platform really don’t have a lot of a ground to be pouting over “monopolies”.

Why Sony’s eReader beats the pants off the Kindle

Sony‘s set to release some new ebook readers following on from the very-nice PRS505, and Jordan Golson at GigaOm looks at them and finds them wanting. His point is that the killer feature for ebooks is wireless. and makes some snarky comments about Sony’s lack thereof.

Jordan also seems to be under the impression that Sony is somehow “proprietary” compared.

“The new devices, of course, don’t connect to either of the high-profile e-book stores, Amazon’s Kindle store nor Barnes & Noble’s newly launched entry, but instead uses Sony’s proprietary e-book store, which has more than 1 million titles (mostly public domain titles from Google’s Books project) — but, because your device has to be connected to your computer to buy books, it’s not the great leap forward we’ve been hoping for.”

How is Sony’s store more “proprietary” than Amazon’s? AZW, used by Amazon, is a closed, proprietary format used by a single vendor. With Sony, you have a choice of formats even if you buy DRM’d books (ePub, BBeB and Secure PDF), some of which (ePub) are open standards. Or, you can choose to avoid DRM and use a completely open standard like ePub.

With Sony, I have a choice of stores. I can buy from Sony (of course), BooksOnBoard, Waterstones (in the UK), and others. I can shop around for the best price. With the Kindle, I can buy from… erm… Amazon. Or Amazon. And it has to be Amazon.com – no other International stores allowed (yet).

(Of course, at the moment, Amazon is selling ebooks at very good prices – in fact, some reckon, at a loss. But does anyone seriously think that will last if/when Kindle is established as the de facto ebook platform?)

So is Sony a lame alternative? No – it’s a better alternative. It supports more formats, and gives me the choice of more stores. The only advantage the Kindle has is convenience, and if you’re outside of wireless range that evaporates into nothing. What’s more, because my ebook reader doesn’t have a constant connection to the net, there’s no opportunity for Sony to pull the plug on books remotely, either.

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