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Kindle Pricing, Business Models and Source Code 156

Posted by Soulskill
from the still-waiting-on-a-price-cut-to-ten-bucks dept.
narramissic writes "A trifecta of Kindle-related news surfaced this week, with Jeff Bezos speaking at Wired's 'Disruptive by Design' conference on topics including Kindle pricing and business models. And yesterday, reports blogger Peter Smith, 'there was a flurry of blogging activity yesterday stating that Amazon had released the Kindle source code. Once everyone caught their breath, it became apparent that the files in question were just some open source libraries that Amazon had modified (they're being good open source citizens and releasing mods they've made to open source code — good for them!), not the complete source code.' Now, back to the Kindle pricing: According to a post at Wired, Bezos said Amazon opted to sell the Kindle for 'something akin to the actual cost for hardware,' rather than subsidizing the hardware costs and requiring a monthly subscription or requiring the buyer to purchase a certain number of books per month because 'fees and minimum purchase requirements create friction.' Smith has a different take: 'If I'm buying a Kindle from Amazon that enables me to buy books from Amazon, I'm broadcasting a desire to buy Kindle books. I would welcome some subsidization of the hardware since I'm going to be buying content anyway. No, I really think Amazon priced the Kindle the way they did because they thought they could get away with doing so (and they were right, it would seem).' Meanwhile, over at the New York Times, Bezos said 'that he sees Kindle-the-device and Kindle-the-book-format as two separate business models, and that the Kindle iPhone App won't be the last software reader to appear.'"
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Kindle Pricing, Business Models and Source Code

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  • I noticed the Slashdot plug on the Kindle website - LOL.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ottothecow (600101)
      Selling something at a price less than it costs to produce it is a risky competition tactic to try and gain a market advantage.

      It seems unreasonable to me for someone to ask a company to sell their wares at less than it costs to produce it. Amazon could make that choice if there was reasonable competition and they wanted to take the hit to compete (assuming they couldnt be competitive at production cost) but suggesting that amazon take a loss when clearly the market is willing to support production price

  • by bhsx (458600) on Wednesday June 17, 2009 @10:49AM (#28362255)
    Rupert Murdoch has apparently been watching the Kindle closely and has been planning on coming-out with his own version to give away to subscribers of his newspapers. Perhaps Bezos really did have the timing right with the Kindle and it just MAY unseat a large portion of the print periodical industry. Should be interesting to watch, no matter how it works itself out.
    • by larry bagina (561269) on Wednesday June 17, 2009 @10:58AM (#28362375) Journal
      Maybe you haven't noticed, but a large portion of the print periodical industry is being unseated without the kindle's help.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Jurily (900488)

        Maybe you haven't noticed, but a large portion of the print periodical industry is being unseated without the kindle's help.

        What I'd like to see is an e-book reader that fetches my news and favorite comics from tha intarwebs. The first company to come out with it will be rich, guaranteed.

        • by Brandee07 (964634)
          There was a website that did this- it picked up stuff from RSS feeds, compiled so many articles into a document and emailed it to your Kindle. I never used it so I don't know the name or if it's still running (Amazon may have shut it down?).
        • by fafaforza (248976)

          It may not be your device doing the fetching automagically via whispernet, but Calibre can fetch anything that's been made available via RSS and turn it into a "book". There are existing recipes for major papers, or you can write your own using Python for whichever news source you read.

          Even though you still have to do this on a computer and transfer via USP, it only takes a few clicks (can be scheduled), and gives you a change to charge up your device a little.

          The only downside is that the RSS feeds often

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 17, 2009 @11:57AM (#28363105)

      Since I purchased my Kindle 2 I have purchased more individual newspapers than I have in the last 5 years. I like the ability to pick up the Wall Street Journal one day and Boston Globe the next. Also during my commute if I see an article in a paper while reading over their shoulder I immediate go to Amazon and buy that days print.

      I think Peter Smith has it wrong and Jeff got it right. I purchased the Kindle at this price point because I was not tied down to any contract. I read a lot of books and with the Kindle I now have them all queued up. Not all of the books were purchased from Amazon. The Pragmatic Programmers is a publisher that gets it and other publishers should take note. I went to there site to see if they were going to off ebooks for the Kindle. Little did I know they already do. I logged into my account and that is when I got an alert telling me that the two ebooks I purchased a year ago have updates. Hmmm... Would be cool if I could trade these in for the Kindle version. BLAM A click of the link and the PDF and Kindle versions were ready for me to download. No extra cost. Now if only Manning and a few other publishers would get this.

  • Of course Amazon is going to claim the best personal book-reader and business model. But they make even more money if they support other readers, which they have done with iPhone. And that wont be the last. I wonder when someone will break their DRM?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by gEvil (beta) (945888)
      I read this as Bezos saying that they'll support Amazon Kindle ebooks on other "mobile" platforms (a la various smartphones, etc), but that they won't support them on anything that is a direct competitor (a la E Ink-based reader devices) to the Kindle. This view is totally consistent with the words he said.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Brandee07 (964634)

        I read this as Bezos saying that they'll support Amazon Kindle ebooks on other "mobile" platforms (a la various smartphones, etc), but that they won't support them on anything that is a direct competitor (a la E Ink-based reader devices) to the Kindle. This view is totally consistent with the words he said.

        I agree with your interpreation. In Bezos' opinion, the iPhone does not compete with the Kindle, it complements it. In my usage, I've found this to be true. I do MOST of my reading on the Kindle, but I do get in a page or two of a book on the iPhone while in the bathroom. It's entirely possible for the iPhone to offer some competition, but I don't think it's a big concern for them- iPhone only customers are still buying their books, after all.

        There's no way a Sony Reader would complement a Kindle in a si

    • Mobipocket and DRM (Score:4, Informative)

      by krischik (781389) <krischik@@@users...sourceforge...net> on Wednesday June 17, 2009 @11:45AM (#28362963) Homepage Journal

      First: the DRM has been broken - AZW is the Mobipocket file-format with just one byte changed so a Mobipocket reader software won't accept it. So to break Amazons DRM google for "MobiDeDRM" and "Kindle Mobipocket conversion" - it will be the #1 hit ;-).

      Now having said that you might notice something: Mobipocket has free to download readers for just about 12 different devices. So if Amazon wanted what you suggest all they had to to is not change that one byte. So in changing that one byte it is a clear signal that that they want there books to be read on Kindle and Kindle alone. And iPhone is just a special exception.

      Before you wonder: Amazon owns Mobipocket [1] - so no they won't change there reader to accept Kindle books. In fact Mobipocket has stopped producing new reader software all together.

      It is not difficult see the evil masterplan behind: The typical Embrace, Extend, Extinguish plan which is now in the last phase: Mobipocket to be extinguished by not creating new software for todays devices. Amazon even got as far as stopping the finished Mobipocktet iPhone reader. And last not least: not licensing the Mobipocket file format to Sony.

      For those who own Mobipocket books - ahh sorry mate you loose. Only by now Amazon has pissed of European customers [2] big time. After all we can't buy Kindle and feel the Mobipocket demise double. And we found out about Sony.

      Martin

      [1] http://www.mobipocket.com/ [mobipocket.com]
      [2] http://www.mobipocket.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=15520 [mobipocket.com]

      • by Brandee07 (964634)
        Yeah, the Mobipocket thing is a bucket of bad news. Amazon should have rolled it into the main Kindle store or something, but they are just stifling the PC ebook market instead.
        • Main reason I became a Mobipocket user was the Symbian OS reader. Or where else do you fund Dune which weights less then 200g.

      • by vanyel (28049) *

        The Sony is a nice reader, but the software you have to use to load it is one of the most unstable pieces of crap I've ever had the misfortune of using. On the other hand, the kindle works great, and it works great with non-drm'd goodness from other publishers. Until Amazon learns that lesson, they can keep their crippled ebooks, but I'll happily pay a fair price to use the good hardware, which would *not* be the case if I was forced to subscribe to the crippleware, which would eventually cost more far mo

        • The Sony is a nice reader, but the software you have to use to load it is one of the most unstable pieces of crap I've ever had the misfortune of using.

          Why am I not surprised! If Sony (and it's subsidiaries) does not learn there lesson in software quality soon I see no hope...

          Martin

  • (they're being good open source citizens and releasing mods they've made to open source code -- good for them!)

    It's not really about citizenship. It's about not being sued. In organizations I've worked in, engineers have so much to do that tasks they consider low-priority (like reviewing product documentation, and releasing modifications to open source products) tend to fall through the cracks. As a tech writer, it's part of my job to be an asshole about getting developers to review what I write. Same goes for our lawyers: they have to be assholes about getting developers to comply with legal stuff, including the op

  • Kindle 1 owner (Score:4, Interesting)

    by BigHungryJoe (737554) on Wednesday June 17, 2009 @10:57AM (#28362355) Homepage

    there's more than one "Kindle-the-book-format", though. There's the regular Kindle file, azw, and there's one they call the "Topaz" format (azw1), and it sucks. I love Vernor Vinge, and unfortunately, lots of his stuff is in topaz format on the Kindle.

    Huge numbers of artifacts - lines printed over other lines, skipped lines, and sometimes the first word of a sentence has huge amounts of whitespace between the first and second letter.

    Other than that, love my Kindle.

    • and I don't think it's the publisher's fault, either, because every topaz book on my Kindle has similar issues. Some have more issues than others, but they all have problems.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Brandee07 (964634)

        This isn't true, at least not 100%.

        I have one book in Topaz (not a statistically significant sample, but it's all I have), and it renders fine.

        Of course, you have to remember that the purpose of Topaz is to embed your own fonts. Most author/publishers will use this feature because they "don't like" the default font. My Topaz book has used the embedded fonts to display foreign characters (Chinese, Arabic, Japanese, Linear B, the whole lot of em) inline, without having to resort to using images. It all dis

    • So how does on go about getting a refund for a defective ebook??

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Brandee07 (964634)

        You email/call customer service within 7 days of purchase. They don't even ask for a reason, although if you provide one they will attempt to address it. For example, when they process a return based on formatting errors, they will include in the refund notification that they have informed the publisher of the problem (it's the publishers problem to fix, not Amazon's.)

        When I tried to get a refund for a 7 month old book based on TTS disabling, I got a) a refusal because it had been quite a bit longer than 7

  • trollmod for devils advocate against amazon, but what the hey..

    'good job' is a qualifier to which i object.
    this is the same company violently trying to patent 1click...they released the source code because the community has an established habit of targeting offenders and demanding compliance and cash.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by idontgno (624372)

      If you comply with a common good out of fear of the repercussions of not doing so, is that objectively different than if you comply with a common good out of love of the community? And how does an outside observer accurately know the difference?

      Assuming you know someone's motivations is usually a mistake, and certainly arrogant and prejudiced.

      Amazon did the right thing. "Why" is ultimately irrelevant.

  • by Falkkin (97268) on Wednesday June 17, 2009 @11:01AM (#28362419) Homepage

    "If I'm buying a Kindle from Amazon that enables me to buy books from Amazon, I'm broadcasting a desire to buy Kindle books. I would welcome some subsidization of the hardware since I'm going to be buying content anyway. No, I really think Amazon priced the Kindle the way they did because they thought they could get away with doing so..."

    Why is it only in the tech-gadget industry that people expect manufacturers to sell items for *less than cost*?

    • by mh1997 (1065630)

      Why is it only in the tech-gadget industry that people expect manufacturers to sell items for *less than cost*?

      Because we are mostly tech oriented people and we associate with mostly tech oriented people that want to pay nothing for their hobbies.

      If this were a plumbing forum, we'd all be bitching about Delta faucets and what is actually a fair price.

      FYI, I've just had my second delta faucet in 2 months break because of an extremely under-engineered screw.

    • by tirerim (1108567)
      Yeah, I don't get it either. Especially since in this case they really can't expect people to buy books from Amazon: my girlfriend has had one for over a month, has been using it quite a lot, and hasn't paid for any content yet. Instead, she's been getting stuff from Project Gutenberg, publishers which offer some things free, etc. Of course, they are still subsidizing the cost of the wireless connection.
    • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Wednesday June 17, 2009 @11:10AM (#28362519) Journal

      Why is it only in the tech-gadget industry that people expect manufacturers to sell items for *less than cost*?

      I know! People would think you were crazy if you suggested selling a razor at below cost to encourage people to buy them and let you make money from the blades.

      • by Falkkin (97268)

        Funny you mention that, since razors are the one toiletry that's advertized exactly like tech gadgets: "6 blades is SO last year! Now get the MACH 12 WITH 12 BLADES!" :)

      • The razor industry has learned though. Go to your local mega-mart/drug store/ etc and go to the razor section. I think you'll find that not only does a 10 pack of blades cost $10, but a razor with one or 2 blades costs about the same. Now this razor is not some mahogany wood with inlaid ivory, it's a piece of plastic made in china. I claim that there is no way they don't make money on both. The new analogy is ink jet printers! Ps. get off my lawn.
        • Really? I currently own two razors (I left one at my mother's house by mistake a few years ago, so bought a replacement when I got back). One, I got through the post, for free, from the company that made them; they sent them out to everyone that their market research could figure our was about the age to start shaving (I think they did it by finding men being added to the electoral roll, but I could be wrong). The other, the one I bought, was came in a pack with four blades (plus one already fitted in th
      • I know! People would think you were crazy if you suggested selling a razor at below cost to encourage people to buy them and let you make money from the blades.

        The difference that makes Kindle distinguishable from your example is that Amazon doesn't manufacture the blades. They are reselling other author's works and need to pay those authors a fair price. This is a significantly different business model from Gillette.

    • Exactly. And by selling at cost, if you find some use for it that maybe wasn't intended, nobody can lay a guilt trip on you about costing Amazon money because they subsidize its cost.

      I've worked in businesses were equipment was basically sold at cost and where equipment was subsidized. At cost works much better, in my opinion. Subsidizing sucks when someone pays 20.00 for a 200.00 device, drops it in a bucket of water, and then explodes when they are expected to pay 200.00 for something they just paid 20.00

    • "If I'm buying a Kindle from Amazon that enables me to buy books from Amazon, I'm broadcasting a desire to buy Kindle books. I would welcome some subsidization of the hardware since I'm going to be buying content anyway. No, I really think Amazon priced the Kindle the way they did because they thought they could get away with doing so..." Why is it only in the tech-gadget industry that people expect manufacturers to sell items for *less than cost*?

      What industry other than the tech gadget industry has companies who want to sell you both the player and reserve the exclusive right to sell you the content too? If you were offered a normal DVD player, or a DVD player that only played Sony disks would you expect to pay full price for the limited one?

  • by peter303 (12292) on Wednesday June 17, 2009 @11:03AM (#28362437)
    98% of books and 99.9% of magazines I never re-read. I'd prefer a library model, say $1 a day to read a book, then I could stop access and paying for it. The main exception would be course-texts.
    • ...I'd prefer a library model, say $1 a day to read a book

      i don't know what kind of library you've been going to, but my library is free to use.
      as for e-books: bittorrent seems to be closer to the library model, i go in, take as much as I want, and pay nothing.
      (you could argue that i pay for library access through taxes, but then i would just argue that i pay for pirate bay access through my internet subscription)

      • by tgd (2822)

        Most public libraries now charge for new books, I've found.

        Typically there's one copy of a popular book for free, and a set of additional copies available for a 25-50 cent a day rental fee.

        Its handy for the popular books because its cheaper than buying and you don't have to sit on a wait list for three months.

    • by Tikkun (992269) on Wednesday June 17, 2009 @11:29AM (#28362755) Homepage

      98% of books and 99.9% of magazines I never re-read. I'd prefer a library model, say $1 a day to read a book, then I could stop access and paying for it. The main exception would be course-texts.

      I love libraries! You should check out TPB, I've heard they have a great selection of books and magazines you can borrow. Just like an analog library, but from your home computer or mobile device! ;)

    • 99.999% of books and 99.999% of magazines I never read.

    • I'd prefer a library model, say $1 a day to read a book, then I could stop access and paying for it.

      The trick here is for eBooks to be priced so cheaply that they're competitive with your desired rental model. How much does an eBook cost and how long does it take you to read it? The rule of thumb in video games is that a $60 game should give you 60 hours of playing (and replaying) enjoyment. At $1/hour that's a better bargain than a movie theater, and Netflix is a better bargain than that.

      Unless you'r

    • by Ironica (124657)

      98% of books and 99.9% of magazines I never re-read. I'd prefer a library model, say $1 a day to read a book, then I could stop access and paying for it. The main exception would be course-texts.

      If I was paying $1/day for my Kindle books, which I read for a few minutes here and there while waiting for the rest of my life to happen, I'd end up paying $10-15 per book. Currently I pay $5-10 (for Amazon books; books from Baen.com are free), and can look up what happened in the previous book when I'm reading a subsequent novel in the same series, for example.

      Also, it's currently possible to back up the book files on your device to your home computer. They'd have to disable that feature if they wanted

  • by mpapet (761907) on Wednesday June 17, 2009 @11:08AM (#28362493) Homepage

    I have a hard time with the buzz on Amazon's device.

    Right now, their stock is trading at an astronomical P/E ratio.
    Their balance sheet has an equally astronomical Goodwill valuation.
    Does someone follow the corporation's reporting enough to publish some facts regarding how much this device contributes to their bottom line?

    If this were a big win for Amazon, it would show up in their numbers.

    Now, how many of you *actually* stuff another device in your laptop bag to read books?

    Or, maybe it will be like the days when Apple introduced the ipod and many on /. said it was doomed, only with Amazon the expectations are backwards.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by nonsequitor (893813)

      I've owned the original Kindle for over a year now and as a business traveler it's amazing. Instead of stuffing a couple paperbacks in my carry on, I take my kindle. If I'm out of books to read, I browse the amazon store from the terminal, which is substantially cheaper than say Hudson News.

      When I travel internationally to non-english speaking countries, meaning no english tv channels, I usually load up half a dozen books in advance to keep me occupied. Since the wireless obviously only works in the stat

      • by Ironica (124657)

        My biggest complaint is that I have to turn off the Kindle for takeoff and landing.

        Now that there are more phones (like the Blackberry) where you can turn the wireless off while leaving the phone power on, some airlines have revised the instruction. This means that you can often leave the Kindle on, so long as you turn off the wireless radio.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Hadlock (143607)

      With the New York Times to $2/ea (newsstand price, what I pay/buy), as soon as this drops in price by $50-100 it becomes cheaper than buying it at the newsstand. $100 pricebreak or faster refresh (next gen e-ink tech) is what will make me buy one. If the NYT would give a $100 rebate for a 1 year subscription I would buy one tomorrow. There's a lot of people waiting for the price to come down 10-20% and I think you'll see a bunch of people ordering them that would otherwise never have been in the market for

    • If this were a big win for Amazon, it would show up in their numbers.

      It's a new market. It will take time to show as more than a blip. Remember how it used to be a running joke about Amazon ever making a profit? Funny how times change.
      I do remember reading somewhere that they are selling something like a third of ebooks as opposed to paper for titles where both exist, so this is a substitution rather than extra sales, but an ebook costs less to stock, as it's just a file on a hard drive somewhere, not a specific number of items that need the be warehoused, inventoried, packe

    • Now, how many of you *actually* stuff another device in your laptop bag to read books?

      You've got it wrong. With the Kindle reader s/w available on other platforms for free -- starting with 17M iPhone/iPod Touches, you don't even need the Kindle h/w to read Kindle books. Buy it if you want the screen, storage, and Whispernet connectivity. Use your other smartphone/laptop otherwise. Either way Amazon has you covered.

  • The price of any product is determined by what the market will bear. Therefore saying that Amazon priced the Kindle as high as they could get away with is simply circular, a tautology. A product is priced to move a certain number of units. Amazon decided that the price would move enough units, that may change in the same way that Apple lowered the price to move more units.

    OTOH, the Kindle may be subsidized because of the user does not pay for the wireless plan, Amazon does. Since we do not know the de

    • by Brandee07 (964634)

      Another factor to consider when trying to ferret out the "true price" is the pricing of similar products. The most expensive component is the screen, so limit your search to other eInk products:

      Sony Reader $270-350
      Amazon Kindle $360-500
      iRex iLiad $600-850

      That's quite a distribution.

  • Bezos said 'that he sees Kindle-the-device and Kindle-the-book-format as two separate business models

    What's next? Kindle the Lunchbox? Kindle the Flamethrower?

    As TFA states, it sounds like Amazon is charging full price for the hardware just because they can. Welcome to the Quest For More Money!

    • Meanwhile, over at the New York Times, Bezos said 'that he sees Kindle-the-device and Kindle-the-book-format as two separate business models, and that the Kindle iPhone App won't be the last software reader to appear.'

      Does Jeff Bezos really talk of himself in the third person? Surely the "he" in that quote isn't the aforementioned blogger Peter Smith.

    • by Ironica (124657)

      Bezos said 'that he sees Kindle-the-device and Kindle-the-book-format as two separate business models

      What's next? Kindle the Lunchbox? Kindle the Flamethrower?

      Dammit, if they come out with those, I'll have to get a new Kindle! Or possibly even two!

  • by Tryfen (216209) on Wednesday June 17, 2009 @11:10AM (#28362527) Homepage

    The thing that stops me taking the Kindle is the huge upfront cost. I can buy 200 books for the price of one Kindle. Obviously, the Kindle has all sorts of advantages over regular books, but it's quite a steep cost.

    I think Amazon should subsidise the books. Make the Kindle come with, say, $200 worth of vouchers redeemable in the Amazon store. Make it $100 worth of general vouchers and $100 worth of 2-for-1 deals. Anything to cut the apparent cost of the hardware.

    Digital content has no intrinsic cost, so it's not much of a subsidy on their behalf.

    • by Brandee07 (964634) on Wednesday June 17, 2009 @11:19AM (#28362635)

      Digital content has no intrinsic cost, so it's not much of a subsidy on their behalf.

      While I'm a huge fan of free stuff, I would like to point out that they still have to pay the authors and publishers for use of the copyrighted material.

      • While I'm a huge fan of free stuff, I would like to point out that they still have to pay the authors and publishers for use of the copyrighted material.

        That doesn't stop Amazon from negotiating with publishers of e-books for a discount. I'm pretty sure that the contract between the publishers and most authors includes a bunch of freebies for promotional use. As it is in the interest of the e-book publishers as much, if not more, than the interest of Amazon for kindle to take off, it's quite plausible that publishers would participate in such a promotion.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by SilentTristero (99253)

      They do subsidize the books (if by subsidize you mean "sell for less than hardcopy"). I just bought Outliers for Kindle for $9.99; hardcopy is $14.83 from Amazon, or $18.19 from B&N.

      • by Itchyeyes (908311) on Wednesday June 17, 2009 @11:27AM (#28362741) Homepage

        That's not a subsidy. They can't sell digital copies for the same amount as hard copies because their customers know that it costs them significantly less money to produce. They're still selling both the hardware and content at a profit. A subsidy is when you use profits from one product to offset selling another product for a loss (eg Sony sells the PS3 at a loss but makes it up by charging a $10 royalty on every PS3 game made, even if they had no hand in the development/production/distribution of the game).

        • What do you think a subsidized e-book would go for? -$5.00 perhaps? :-)

          I'm partly serious. There are still production (scanning, proofing, formatting) and distribution (whispernet) costs even though they're smaller than with hardcopy, and royalties which are unchanged.

        • Well, your statement is a little off. Sony has had a hand in every title made for the PS3, they made the dev tools and hardware. That $10 royalty if for establishing the platform, etc. Mod me down if you find me pedantic.

          In a semi-related note The new Ghostbusters game is $59.99 PS3/360 and $29.99 PC

          W.............T..............F

        • by cdrguru (88047)

          They can't sell digital copies for the same amount as hard copies because their customers know that it costs them significantly less money to produce.

          Where do people keep getting this idea? I can produce a 100-page book for about $2. If I were going to print 100,000 of them it would be more like $0.50 each. The shipping costs per book are extremely low. You might be able to convince me that the total cost for printing and shipping any mass-market book is $1. Maybe.

          No way is it much more than that, because if it was I would be in the book business. When I can independently produce a book for $2 in small quantities I have to think that either I am th

          • by fafaforza (248976)

            But you have to factor in the fact that you can't resell the book you finished reading, donate it to the library, or give it to a friend. The publisher knows that they won't be losing a new sale due to the used market, or gifting.

            I don't know much about the book business, but aren't there complications on the physical side of books? You have to commit to a certain print amount. You then have to figure out how many books to send out to each store. And any copies that aren't sold, I think the book store i

        • this is information from Bezos himself, so it's up to you to decide who to believe but NYTimes says that bestsellers are subsidized [nytimes.com]:

          He said that publishers would be allowed to set list prices but that Google would price the e-books for consumers. Amazon also lets publishers set wholesale prices and then establishes its own prices for consumers. In selling e-books at $9.99, Amazon effectively takes a loss on each sale because publishers generally charge booksellers about half the list price of a hardcover ty

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by tgd (2822)

        If you notice, though, newer books with paperback editions, typically the Kindle version is $9.99 and the paperback less.

        You have to get to much older books for Kindle prices to be lower than paperback prices, and even with old sci-fi novels, its typically 5% less.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by nonsequitor (893813)

          That is just not true. Amazon guarantees that the Kindle price will always be less than the dead tree edition. I've never seen the kindle edition of a book which has begun selling trade paperbacks be $9.99. Occasionally the price at Borders or Barnes & Noble will be cheaper because they have the hardcover on sale for 40% off, and the Kindle price is only 30% off the listed hardcover price, though if you can wait a week or two for new releases the price goes down from the price on the release date.

          • by Ironica (124657)

            That is just not true. Amazon guarantees that the Kindle price will always be less than the dead tree edition.

            Hmmm... as much as I love my Kindle, I have to disagree here. Or at least, if they guarantee this, they need to take care of a couple [amazon.com] of [amazon.com] titles [amazon.com]. I'm not going to count this one [amazon.com] because the paperback's not out yet.

            I couldn't find any with an actual released paperback that costs less than the Kindle edition, but found several where the price was the same.

    • Digital content has no intrinsic cost, so it's not much of a subsidy on their behalf.

      Digital content has no intrinsic cost to the publisher. To Amazon, who has to pay the publisher a royalty fee for every sale, digital content has a very real, per unit cost that they cannot go below. Just like the television and film industries learned very little about digital content from the music industry, so it would seem that the publishing industry has also chosen to ignore the lessons learned by those who have gone before them. The transition to digital print is going to be every bit as painful a

    • by tgd (2822)

      200 books?

      Where do you find new books for $2 each?

    • by cdrguru (88047)

      Digital content has no intrinsic cost, so it's not much of a subsidy on their behalf.

      As long as you are willing to cut the creator out. What, do you think creating books is simple and easy, so easy anyone can do it? Well, I guess anyone could if they wanted - but the result of 99% of the population is unreadable drivel. Read many blogs lately?

      Either the creativity and effort is worth something or it isn't. If it isn't, then everything digital should be free and we are stuck with whatever slime oozes forth. Because nobody is going to put forth the effort to produce quality books. Books

    • Digital content has no intrinsic cost, so it's not much of a subsidy on their behalf.

      I don't the think the publishers are just going to give their content to Amazon for free, even if Amazon gives it away free.

      --Bruce

  • by TheMCP (121589) on Wednesday June 17, 2009 @11:33AM (#28362809) Homepage

    I have a Kindle. I love it. But I'm not buying books from the Kindle store for my Kindle, because they're DRM-encrusted. I'm buying my ebooks from another legitimate source which sells them to me in formats I can convert, and I convert them into Mobi and put them on my Kindle using Calibre.

    So, buying a Kindle does not automatically signal a desire to buy Kindle books. Some of us just like the hardware.

    • by Hadlock (143607)

      Why did you pay the $150 "amazon tax" for a reader you're not using with the bundled store? The Sony ereader has the same screen for less and less format conversion hoops to jump through. If both are displaying non-DRM text on the same screen it's essentially a commodity item to you unless the kindle is providing some additional service that the Sony does not provide.

      • by mdm-adph (1030332)

        I'm sure he's using the whispernet -- I've heard it's pretty nice.

        • by Hadlock (143607)

          If you're posting about this on slashdot and can afford a kindle chances are you already have "whispernet" on your blackberry/iphone in full color

          • by jcgam69 (994690)
            The difference (with the DX anyway) is the screen is much bigger, text is sharp, and it's more comfortable for reading online articles than my blackberry or iphone. I read lots of negative comments about the kindle browser before I bought one but it's really pretty good if you browse mobile sites.
            • by Hadlock (143607)

              I'm not arguing that the kindle isn't good for reading on compared to a smart phone. As far as I know sony sells the same exact screen as what's used in the dx in their reader for about $150 less than the DX. If you're downloading articles via wispernet then you're still buying DRM"d stuff from amazon which is what the OP was against. Unless you're manually moving articles to your kindle everyday, which seems awfully cumbersome.

              • by jcgam69 (994690)
                The DX is the new model with a 9.7" screen. I had a Sony PRS-505 but I returned it because the screen was just too small for me. All of the content I've downloaded from Amazon via whispernet so far has been free. I will be busy for quite a while reading free books from Amazon and Project Gutenberg. This is my first ebook reader and I have to say that reading on this device is very enjoyable for many reasons (built-in dictionary, wikipedia access, PDF support, small size/weight, etc.)
                • by Hadlock (143607)

                  The DX and Sony PRS700BC have the Exact. Same. Screen. DX: 9.7". PRS700BC: 9.7". They come from the same factory, they use the same control module, they have the same part number when disassembled.

                  Amazon Kindle 9.7" DX $489.95 with free shipping
                  Sony PRS700BC 9.7" $349.95 with free shipping

                  What else do I have to do to explain this

                  http://www.amazon.com/Sony-Reader-Digital-screen-PRS700BC/dp/B001HHZ1S6/ref=sr_1_1/176-8278100-6630836?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1245266500&sr=8-

          • by mdm-adph (1030332)

            Ah, but do you have it free of charge, forever and ever?

            (Yes, I know some of the price is more than likely bundled into the price of the Kindle, but the very fact that you have this capability, forever and ever, is pretty neat.)

            • by Hadlock (143607)

              I wasn't aware of any official announcement of free internet forever on the kindle; last I read Amazon reserved the right to change the terms of service (including charging for whispernet) at any time. Where did you read that? Also the point still stands that if you can afford a kindle you probably already are happy to pay the premium for broadband vs dialup and will continue to be able to present economy excepted. The $150 price difference buys you between 3 and 10 months of broadband depending on where yo

    • by JJAnon (180699)
      Just curious - where do you buy books?
    • I'm buying my ebooks from another legitimate source which sells them to me in formats I can convert

      Then buy them directly from eXcessica Publishing [excessica.com] and other publishers who offer their titles on their own sites across a variety of standard and open formats.

      NSFW Warning: eXcessica Publishing sells adult titles for mature readers.

  • I beg to disagree here

    1) Amazon owns Mobipocket [1].
    2) Over time Mobipocket has developed software readers for 12 devices [2].
    3) The AZW book format - including DRM - is identical with Mobipocket save one byte [3].

    So if Amazon wanted more software readers one call at Mobipocket and a week later they would have some. Which is probably the way they got the iPhone reader: http://www.teleread.org/2008/12/04/is-amazon-sitting-on-the-mobipocket-iphone-client-after-all/ [teleread.org]

    Martin

    [1] http://www.mobileread.com/forums/sh [mobileread.com]

    • What if they want other devices to be able to read Kindle books, while squashing the mobipocket's feature of reading content from other publishers? Thereby squashing the e-book publishing industry rather than the e-book reader hardware industry.

      To do that what they would want to do is break Kindle books on mobipocket, so that people hopefully stop using the existing version (done). Then they re-use the mobipocket code to create dedicated Kindle reading software for other devices that mobipocket already
      • Yep - you are probably right - that is most likely the plan.

        Of course there is a flaw in that plan: Kindle (reader and books) is not available here is Europe. So we will stop using Mobipocket but we can't go for Kindle either.

        But the Sony reader (not that I have much love to Sony) and with the ePub file format is available in all mayor book stores. High visibility.

  • The problem for amazon with a subsidized kindle is that it would have created an immediate demand for some other publisher to provide discounted books for use on the kindle. Amazon would therefore have to respond by clamping down on what the kindle can view/read to recoup their investment.

    Besides, it's going to be expensive either way and people would feel angry if they paid alot for an e-book reader and the books were priced higher than they are now.
  • I'd be reluctant to accept one for free. I don't like either Kindle, or any other DRM supporting reader. I'm quite dubious about the very concept, but not really opposed, to electronic readers. I'm oppose to DRM enabling readers. Including the Kindle.

    Five years from now, when you need a new machine, you'll understand why. EVERYTHING you've bought will need to be replaced, and part of it won't be available any longer. (Replaced doesn't necessarily mean repurchased...but it can. That depends on vendor

    • As a Mobipocket Customer I noticed a little more then 5 week ago. There is no reader for the Nokia 5800, the iPhone and whatever else there are in the way of new devices. At first I was surprised - they have to with the times, don't they.

      But then I found out that Mobipocket was bought by Amazon and Amazon wants to phase Mobipocket out. You will find several rants from here here in thread if you are interested in details.

      Anyway I was suddenly aware that I won't be able to read my eBooks on the next device wh

  • Amazon opted to sell the Kindle for 'something akin to the actual cost for hardware,

    Like Kodak did for their inkjet printers and ink.

    Very much unlike what Apple and AT&T do for the iPhone.

    Add me to the list of people who prefer this model of honesty.

  • Would you buy an Apple iTablet if Kindle prices were cut in half on the day of its launch? Even at an guesstimated $200 price premium over the Kindle, the iTablet has been called the Kindle Killer - not that Amazon should mind since they could just be selling Kindle books to iTablet early adopters for the same profit. But with free Whispernet to d/l a lot of free and other subscription content, as a reader Kindle is fairly priced at the moment. Just wish I could afford it to read my own Kindle books on.

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