Amazon announced they will hold an event this Wednesday (May 6th:10 a.m.) in New York. Most are expecting the unveiling of a large-format e-reader geared towards newspaper subscriptions. Which would be a smart move for Amazon, as many newspapers aren’t happy with the Kindle and its inability to serve up newspaper styles content and ads as the industry needs. That’s a fact that has many of the major newspaper chains partnering with other e-reader device manufacturers to develop their own e-ink devices.
A trend that Amazon would no doubt like to curb with its potential to cut into it’s growing revenue stream of (on avergae) $14 a month per newspaper subscription.
The folks over at the O’Reilly RADAR blog crunched some numbers and churned out some graphs. With the iPhone Apps store about to sell its one billionth app download, the “books” category is by far and wide the largest mover and shaker. It saw 279% growth over the past week and while sporting only 11% of the Apps Store’s total offerings. Granted it’s not as popular as the Games and Entertainment categories and the growth probably has a lot to do with the Kindle App, but with all of the geo-synching-motion-controlling-gesture-detecting-music-blasting features that the iPhone can do… look what all those iPhone owners are wanting to explore on their gadgets… books.
Last year Amazon spent a lot of time throwing its weight around, trying to squash and curtail the activities of smaller publishers and booksellers on its site. But just last week, they have shown that they are capable of listening and working with consumers… when they see a threat to there own product line anyway.
The new Kindle has a text-to-speech feature which allows a reader to become listener as an automaton voice recites the text, which didn’t seem like a big deal to me. But agents and lawyers saw it differently, claiming it infringes on their ability to sell rights to the book for the audio-book format. At first, Amazon said ‘no’. But evidently they have had a chnage of heart and will give publishers the chance to opt-in/out to this feature. Which is really how things should be done, across the board these days. It’s 2009 and there is no reason why a content owner shouldn’t be given a choice of how their content will be made available.
I’m not much of a fan of the K2. It seems to be the device they should have put out there as the first one. And maybe they agree? The rumor mill is already cranking out “Kindle 3 by the end of the year” stories and some look to have merit. Which if they are truw, will put the Kindle in a place to remain competitive.
I am a HUGE fan of our library system here in Birmingham. They are great and very rarely do I feel let down. I’m betting the folks in Boston feel the same way about their library system too. Especially with the launch of their Open Library Scan-on-Demand program.
Here are the directions from their site:
…if it’s at the Boston Public Library and hasn’t been scanned yet, there will be a “Scan This Book” button… …we’ll have a librarian go and get the book from the stacks, bring it to our scanning center, and have our team of scanners digitize it page-by-page. Within 3-5 days, you should receive an email follow-up with a link to the newly-digitized copy, complete with PDF, online flip book, full text (using OCR technology) and more, all thanks to your request!
How cool is that? You can tell these people have put a ton of thought into their library system. if you go the site, you can even see which titles are in the process of being scanned. Kudos Boston!