Amazon Kindle -- A Year Later?

I bit the bullet and pre-ordered a Kindle 2. I might cancel it, but I could always give the old one to my grandmother, as she's been asking me quite a few questions about it.

My darling wife impetuously pre-ordered two of them for us. I'm sure we'll both spill our scribble-loving guts all over the internet about the pros and cons when/if said devices ever arrive. For my part, the thought of wirelessly purchasing impulse-books at the touch of a button seems like the kind of dream that's scary when it comes true. Like receiving oral sex while driving.

Fletcher wrote:

For my part, the thought of wirelessly purchasing impulse-books at the touch of a button seems like the kind of dream that's scary when it comes true. Like receiving oral sex while driving.

Yes, and yes. It's way too easy to buy. I tend to browse amazon and send samples to myself (Best. Feature. Ever.) of stuff I want to read in the future.

SommerMatt wrote:

In fact, I think I just saw an article somewhere a few days ago with a publisher saying that lower priced e-books would destroy the publishing business.

Probably so, just like selling movies on VHS/DVD directly to consumers was going to destroy the movie business.

Hmm, wonder how many studios would want to return to the non-DVD days now...

As I love reading, this might be cool. I download most of my other media, but I have a strange connection to the physical book. I wouldn't want to take this camping or anything, like a real book, but we will see.

It's my understanding that the retailers are playing hardball, and absolutely refuse to allow prices on ebooks to go lower. They threaten publishers with destocking if they undercut.

The reason Kindle books are expensive, in other words, is mostly Barnes and Noble.

But several book sellers were already put out of business by Amazon. Plus, Opra. And what is stopping BN from selling E-books themselves? It would keep Amazon away from their current near global domination as it is.

KingGorilla wrote:

Sticker shock is a bitch.

This.

When I saw that the price tag was staying at $359 my jaw dropped. I cannot fathom why they didn't lower the price point considering:

1. The economy is tanking.
2. People overall have expressed high interest in the Kindle after it was stamped with the Oprah seal of approval, so the mainstream is starting to pay attention.
3. People are starting to discover they can already read books on their iPhone as well as other cheaper alternatives.

This product should not be THAT much of a luxury item. Keeping the price high, keeping production slow...that's just a tiresome strategy bound to annoy many people who could be your customers by now. They should ramp up production, decrease the cost of entry, and get as many people downloading books at $9.99 a pop as possible because it's where the money is and the time is right.

ScurvyDog wrote:

I cannot fathom why they didn't lower the price point...

Seeing as the things were selling out faster than they can make them, why should they?

SommerMatt wrote:
ScurvyDog wrote:

I cannot fathom why they didn't lower the price point...

Seeing as the things were selling out faster than they can make them, why should they?

I though my initial post spoke towards that, but in a different way, given the following two choices:

1. Keep production slow, keep price high, convert X prospects to customers buying books at $9.99 a month.
2. Increase production, lower price, and utilize current popularity boost and rough economic time to convert X + 1 bazillion prospects to customers buying books at $9.99 a month, and avoid more potential customers learning about alternatives.

In my opinion, option 2 is better than option 1.

ScurvyDog wrote:
SommerMatt wrote:
ScurvyDog wrote:

I cannot fathom why they didn't lower the price point...

Seeing as the things were selling out faster than they can make them, why should they?

I though my initial post spoke towards that, but in a different way, given the following two choices:

1. Keep production slow, keep price high, convert X prospects to customers buying books at $9.99 a month.
2. Increase production, lower price, and utilize current popularity boost and rough economic time to convert X + 1 bazillion prospects to customers buying books at $9.99 a month, and avoid more potential customers learning about alternatives.

In my opinion, option 2 is better than option 1.

I understand your opinions, but I just don't see why Amazon should bother. It's just like the Wii-- would Nintendo sell MORE consoles if they lowered the price? Maybe, but why bother when they can't make enough of them at the CURRENT price? I'm sure Amazon has done research on how a lower price would affect sales, and I can only conclude that they most likely don't think it would matter all that much based on the current manufacturing capacity.

Let me ask a question-- how much would they have to drop the price before you would consider it worth buying? $50? $100? $150? In tough economic times, no one watching their money is going to be buying an electronic book reader, regardless of price, except for those people who were going to buy one anyway.

If Amazon is following the Nintendo and Apple model and are making the bulk of their profits on hardware sales, the last thing they want to do is drop the price unless they are definitely sure a lower price would lead to enough extra sales to justify the cut.

SommerMatt wrote:
ScurvyDog wrote:
SommerMatt wrote:
ScurvyDog wrote:

I cannot fathom why they didn't lower the price point...

Seeing as the things were selling out faster than they can make them, why should they?

I though my initial post spoke towards that, but in a different way, given the following two choices:

1. Keep production slow, keep price high, convert X prospects to customers buying books at $9.99 a month.
2. Increase production, lower price, and utilize current popularity boost and rough economic time to convert X + 1 bazillion prospects to customers buying books at $9.99 a month, and avoid more potential customers learning about alternatives.

In my opinion, option 2 is better than option 1.

I understand your opinions, but I just don't see why Amazon should bother. It's just like the Wii-- would Nintendo sell MORE consoles if they lowered the price? Maybe, but why bother when they can't make enough of them at the CURRENT price? I'm sure Amazon has done research on how a lower price would affect sales, and I can only conclude that they most likely don't think it would matter all that much based on the current manufacturing capacity.

Let me ask a question-- how much would they have to drop the price before you would consider it worth buying? $50? $100? $150? In tough economic times, no one watching their money is going to be buying an electronic book reader, regardless of price, except for those people who were going to buy one anyway.

If Amazon is following the Nintendo and Apple model and are making the bulk of their profits on hardware sales, the last thing they want to do is drop the price unless they are definitely sure a lower price would lead to enough extra sales to justify the cut.

The way I understand it, the only reason why the can't make enough of them at their current price is that they are intentionally manufacturing them in-house and keeping production slow to inflate the price instead of outsourcing manufacturing. The Nintendo and Apple models work because of their top-notch design and marketing groups, along with a history of great products. These are not Amazon's core competencies - Amazon is a distribution company. IMO, it would want as many people as possible getting used to purchasing overpriced electronic books at $9.99 easily from Amazon.com, which is the Kindle's big selling point, before competition heats up more and their customers realize that $9.99 is an absurd price for an electronic book and stop paying that much (Amazon.com or not). Then Amazon can simply adjust prices and keep Kindle/Amazon.com eBook store customers happy, while collecting $9.99 a book until then.

I'm not someone who wants to buy one of these - I don't read that many books. I just think Amazon was dumb by not adjusting their pricing/manufacturing strategy with the Kindle 2's release.

ScurvyDog wrote:

The way I understand it, the only reason why the can't make enough of them at their current price is that they are intentionally manufacturing them in-house and keeping production slow to inflate the price instead of outsourcing manufacturing. The Nintendo and Apple models work because of their top-notch design and marketing groups, along with a history of great products. These are not Amazon's core competencies - Amazon is a distribution company. IMO, it would want as many people as possible getting used to purchasing overpriced electronic books at $9.99 easily from Amazon.com, which is the Kindle's big selling point, before competition heats up more and their customers realize that $9.99 is an absurd price for an electronic book and stop paying that much (Amazon.com or not). Then Amazon can simply adjust prices and keep Kindle/Amazon.com eBook store customers happy, while collecting $9.99 a book until then.

I'm not someone who wants to buy one of these - I don't read that many books. I just think Amazon was dumb by not adjusting their pricing/manufacturing strategy with the Kindle 2's release.

At $9.99 a piece, they probably aren't making much on the books. Plus, the books are not overpiced at that level, but instead are quite reasonable. The Oprah seal of approval is basically a license to print money, bad economy or not. Additionally, the book consuming public is a limited market. The guy who goes into Borders and buys 2-3 books a year isn't going to buy a Kindle. The people who will buy the Kindle are those that buy 25+ books a year, and they are the least likely to be scared away by a $360 price point. Why cut the price when the item is hot?

Fletcher wrote:

the kind of dream that's scary when it comes true. Like receiving oral sex while driving.

I can't help but think...

IMAGE(http://www.coldforged.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/bush_doing_it_wrong_1-150x150.jpg)

On the iPhone thing.

So, I read books on my Treo, and I've read two books using Stanza on my iPhone. Neither is a particularly pleasurable experience. It's essentially impossible to convince someone that reading a back-lit LCD is fundamentally painful compared to reading paper until you've read an entire novel that way. I'm quite sure there are people out there who scratch their heads in confusion, wondering how anyone could tell the difference. But until you use it for two hours in bed every night and on the bus, I guess I can't really explain it. I get nauseous reading on a screen (laptop or PSP or iPhone) in a car, but can read a book or the kindle all day long.

Maybe we just need an iPhone with an eInk display on the back.

To each their own, I guess. I've read ebooks on a pocketPC and my current Blackberry for hours on end with no problems whatsoever.

SommerMatt wrote:

To each their own, I guess. I've read ebooks on a pocketPC and my current Blackberry for hours on end with no problems whatsoever.

Dude, if you can stand it, and get the books you want at the price you want, no argument from me.

rabbit wrote:
SommerMatt wrote:

To each their own, I guess. I've read ebooks on a pocketPC and my current Blackberry for hours on end with no problems whatsoever.

Dude, if you can stand it, and get the books you want at the price you want, no argument from me.

Don't get me wrong-- I'm not an anti-Kindle guy. I'm very intrigued, actually. But reading books via LCD doesn't bother me in the slightest, so it's hard to justify the cost.

SommerMatt wrote:

Don't get me wrong-- I'm not an anti-Kindle guy. I'm very intrigued, actually. But reading books via LCD doesn't bother me in the slightest, so it's hard to justify the cost.

Not to engage in stereotypes, but how old are you? I find my need for really managing my light-environment has increased in the last 12 years since I hit the adolescent age of 30.

rabbit wrote:
SommerMatt wrote:

Don't get me wrong-- I'm not an anti-Kindle guy. I'm very intrigued, actually. But reading books via LCD doesn't bother me in the slightest, so it's hard to justify the cost.

Not to engage in stereotypes, but how old are you? I find my need for really managing my light-environment has increased in the last 12 years since I hit the adolescent age of 30.

I'm 37. So much for that theory

ColdForged wrote:
Fletcher wrote:

the kind of dream that's scary when it comes true. Like receiving oral sex while driving.

I can't help but think...

IMAGE(http://www.coldforged.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/bush_doing_it_wrong_1-150x150.jpg)

Imagine the best, eyes-closed, head back, body shuddering, moment-of-lost-consciousness orgasm you've ever had. Then imagine having that experience at the wheel of a two-ton piece of steel barreling down an eight-lane highway at 78 miles-per-hour. I think "scary" is an appropriate description for that.

Fletcher wrote:
ColdForged wrote:
Fletcher wrote:

the kind of dream that's scary when it comes true. Like receiving oral sex while driving.

I can't help but think...

IMAGE(http://www.coldforged.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/bush_doing_it_wrong_1-150x150.jpg)

Imagine the best, eyes-closed, head back, body shuddering, moment-of-lost-consciousness orgasm you've ever had. Then imagine having that experience at the wheel of a two-ton piece of steel barreling down an eight-lane highway at 78 miles-per-hour. I think "scary" is an appropriate description for that.

So, you agree with him.

Thirteenth wrote:
Fletcher wrote:
ColdForged wrote:
Fletcher wrote:

the kind of dream that's scary when it comes true. Like receiving oral sex while driving.

I can't help but think...

IMAGE(http://www.coldforged.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/bush_doing_it_wrong_1-150x150.jpg)

Imagine the best, eyes-closed, head back, body shuddering, moment-of-lost-consciousness orgasm you've ever had. Then imagine having that experience at the wheel of a two-ton piece of steel barreling down an eight-lane highway at 78 miles-per-hour. I think "scary" is an appropriate description for that.

So, you agree with him. :D

Exactly! Imagine that entire scenario. Now, imagine anticipating the moment of release and finding a convenient exit prior to it. Roadhead is conclusive proof of the existence of some supreme being, but I reiterate:

IMAGE(http://www.coldforged.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/bush_doing_it_wrong_1-150x150.jpg)

Hey man, they don't call it "life in the fast lane" for no reason. Just because it's not how you'd do it, doesn't make it wrong

I read most of my books on my Samsung Omnia PDA/Phone. I highly recommend Fictionwise.com for purchases. Print is same size as regular book and is adjustable. Of course it is on a phone/PDA sized screen, but I absolutely love it and have been doing the eBook thing on the PDA since the first Windows Mobile PDAs were released. Given my love of reading I have considered the Kindle, but the lack of a backlight (at least from what i have read) is a major down check.

Amazon hasn't released Kindle sales numbers, but speculation by analysts has Kindle sales pegged at 500k in the year+ since it was released. By comparison the Wii sold 670k units in the month of January in North America alone.

To help put thing in perspective, it would take the KIndle 20-25 years to catch up to the PSP's current overall sales if its rate of sales remained constant.

Books aren't games. Novel reading is already a niche, the kindle, doubly so.

rabbit wrote:

Books aren't games. Novel reading is already a niche, the kindle, doubly so.

I agree it is a niche. And I think the Kindle is great. I wish I had a monitor with that kind of screen.

...Just gotta wait for prices to come down for it really take off imo.

Wow, that's really cool. Maybe I should stop telling them to Kindle things since I don't have a Kindle, yet.

So.. my complaint about it being too expensive was overridden by the fact that I'm about to start reading a fair number of books again, probably about 2 a week for the next six months or so if my past experiences are any indication.

I ordered the Kindle 2. The "Where's My Stuff" link on Amazon shows that they're preparing it for shipping already, so hopefully it appears this week.

Sidenote: I put in the order a while back, just forgot about this thread afterward. When I put in the order, I started browsing books I might be interested in reading, and checked on a couple of books that had been recommended to me by friends. One of them wasn't available, so I used Amazon's little request feature, saying I wanted it to be available on the Kindle.

That was maybe a week and a half or two weeks ago. They've since made the author's entire collection available on the Kindle.

Awesome.

*edit*

I'm also seeing a lot of books that are $7.99 in paperback right now for $6.39 on the Kindle.