If you're scratching your head raw trying to figure out what exactly a Kindle Single is, don't worry, we wondered the same thing. As it turns out, that's the designation Amazon is giving to literary works that don't fall into the usual below 10,000 words or above 50,000 words mark, which is "the choice writers have generally faced for more than a century."
"Ideas and the words to deliver them should be crafted to their natural length, not to an artificial marketing length that justifies a particular price or a certain format," said Russ Grandinetti, Vice President, Kindle Content. "With Kindle Singles, we're reaching out to publishers and accomplished writers and we're excited to see what they create."
Amazon describes the length of Kindle Singles as being twice that of a New Yorker feature or as much as a few chapters of a typical book. Kindle Singles have their own section in the Kindle Store and will be "priced much less than a typical book," Amazon says.
Here's a riddle for you. How is it that Amazon's Kindle, with pricing as low as $140, is owned by people who make more money than owners of Apple's iPad, which starts out at $500? Perhaps because Kindle owners are smarter than their iPad toting brethren, too. Oh snap!
We're not hating on iPad owners, we're just repeating the findings by market research firm Nielsen. According to Nielsen, 45 percent of Kindle owners make over $80,000 per year, compared to 39 percent of iPad owners and 37 percent of iPhone owners.
Going by the numbers, Kindle owners also tend to be more educated, with over a quarter (27 percent) having earned their Master's degrees or doctorates, Nielsen says.
So who's rushing out to buy all these iPads? Younger folk, who perhaps haven't had a chance to earn their higher degrees or make oodles of money. About 63 percent of iPad owners are under the age of 35 versus 47 percent of Kindle owners. And for what it's worth, iPad owners are more receptive to advertising than owners of other digital devices.
Amazon figured out a way to make its Kindle software compatible with just about any Internet-ready platform: Shuttle the software to the Web.
That's part of the idea behind Amazon's "Kindle for the Web" project, which was released in beta form this morning. It's incredibly easy to use, just click the "Read first chapter FREE" button on selected eBooks and you'll receive a sample directly in your browser without having to download or install anything.
Bloggers and website owners can also embed samples of Kindle books on their sites and earn referral fees whenever someone clicks through and completes a purchase.
"With Kindle for the Web, it's easier than ever for customers to sample Kindle books - there's no downloading or installation required," said Dorothy Nicholls, Director, Amazon Kindle. "Kindle for the Web is also a great way for bloggers and authors to promote books on their websites by letting visitors read a chapter without leaving their site."
Electronic Arts has finally ported its Scrabble game over to the Kindle, which also happens to be the first premium app of any kind for Amazon's popular eBook Reader. At $4.99, it's exactly $4.99 more than Shuffled Row and Every Word, two addicting word games in their right, but neither of which offer the full Scrabble experience.
The controls are simple -- just use the directional pad to move around, choose a direction, and type out your word. If you're stuck, or a weenie, you can use the Best Word feature to cheat your way to the highest scoring word possible with your combination of letters.
Unfortunately, Electronic Arts didn't tap into the Kindle's Wi-Fi or 3G functionality, and as such, it's impossible to play against friends remotely. There is a Pass N' Play option, though, which is exactly like it sounds.
Amazon today announced a new update to its free Kindle app for Android. The latest update shoehorns a handful of new features, including the ability to search within a book either by typing or a speaking a word or phrase. Other features include:
Add, Edit, and Delete Notes and Highlights: Add notes and highlights to books, and have them automatically synchronized between devices.
Wikipedia Lookup: Look up words and phrases in Wikipedia simply by selecting text
Shelfari Book Details: View additional book details from the books-focused social networking site Shelfari. Readers will find a description of the book, synopsis, summary, cast of characters, and many more features, and be able to view real-time discussions that the Shelfari community is having about the book.
Orientation Lock: Choose to the lock the orientation of the screen in landscape or portrait mode.
Nothing earth shattering in and of themselves, but collectively, but not a bad little update for fans of the Kindle app. Kindle for Android is available for free from the Android Market.
By now you've heard that Apple has come out with this little device called the iPad, and one of its magical features is to serve double-duty as an eBook reader. Surely this will mark the end of the dedicated eReader market, right?
Back the boat, Gilligan, because Amazon has something to say on the matter. In a new ad promoting Amazon's refreshed Kindle, the e-tailer points out the benefits of an E-ink display over that of an LCD screen when trying to read in sunlit areas.
The ad shows an iPad user trying, in vain, to read content on his iPad while chillaxing by the pool. He then asks a Kindle user laying a few feet away how she's able to read her device sitting out in sun, to which she simply replies, "It's a Kindle. A hundred and thirty nine dollars. I actually paid more for these sunglasses."
There are a few things to take away from this ad. First, she paid too much for her sunglasses. Second, unlike the many Mac vs PC commercials we were force fed the past couple of years, Amazon makes a valid point here. And third, speaking of all those commercials, Apples comeuppance just keeps coming.
Amazon keeps the exact number of Kindle’s sold under wraps, but since we know it been the bestselling item on the website for two years running, it’s not hard to imagine that it leads the pack in the e-reader market. The Nook was slowly nibbling away at its market share prior to the price cut, but the only real advantage competitors had left was a presence at brick and mortar stores, something Amazon is finally going to change.
Best Buy & Staples will be getting all three Kindle variants heading into the fall giving consumers a chance to test Amazon’s best against the Nook, Sony Reader, and several other lower end e-book devices. This isn’t the first time the Kindle has hit retail stores, but it is a first for this generation of device. Placing the Kindle in the retail channel is understandably a difficult decision for a company that has built its entire business model around selling via the web, but one that ultimately can only help move more devices.
The decision is likely a result of the Kindle team being divided into two parts, one devoted to selling books and the other to selling hardware. Each team can make decisions to further each section of the business without worrying about the impact on the other end. Giving consumers a chance to check out the Kindle in person is a wise decision, and one that will likely pay off well going into the holiday season.
No official date has been given for stock to arrive at either Best Buy or Staples, but we imagine this is a result of the current backorder situation on the website.
We received word today that Best Buy is expanding its in-store eReader selection to include Amazon's Kindle. This will make Best Buy the only brick and mortar retailer to sell all three major eBook readers, which also includes B&N's Nook and Sony's Reader family.
"There's no question that eReaders have found their rightful place in today's digital lifestyle," said Chris Homeister, senior vice president and general manager of Home Entertainment for Best Buy. "Our goal is to help people choose the device that's right for them by providing the broadest selection of popular eReaders of any retailer, in one convenient place that enables people to easily see, touch, try, and buy."
The Kindles will show up in stores sometime this fall with pricing the same as through Amazon: the new Kindle with built-in Wi-Fi will sell for $140 and the Kindle 3G will go for $190. Later in the season, the Kindle DX will join the fray.
Despite the tablet hype, the ebook reader market is very much alive and well, at least in Amazon's camp. The online retailer today announced that more next-gen Kindles were ordered in the first four weeks of availability than any previous Kindle launch in the same time frame.
"Kindle is the best selling product on Amazon.com for two years running and our new generation Kindles are continuing that momentum," said Steven Kessel, senior vice president, Amazon Kindle. "Readers are excited about all that the new Kindle has to offer -- 50 percent better contrast, 20 percent faster page turns, 15 percent lighter, up to one month of battery life -- and a new price of only $139."
It's that last bit that's probably most responsible for the Kindle's wildly successful launch. Prior to the recent price war among ebook readers, a Kindle would run nearly twice as much. At $140, it's far easier to justify a dedicated ebook reader, even without all the purported improvements to the underlying design.
Anyone order, or plan to order, one of the new Kindles? Or are you holding out for a low-cost tablet?
Back in early June, Steve Jobs went on stage and made a bold claim about the iPad. According to Jobs, "in the first 65 days, users have downloaded over 5 million books," equating to about two and a half books per iPad. By his numbers, that put the iBooks market share of ebooks from five or six major publishers to 22 percent in just 8 weeks time, an impressive feat, if it was true.
Jobs may very well be right, but if he is, not all authors are seeing those same kind of numbers. Mystery author J.A. Konrath, for example, is one of the few authors who publishes numbers on ebook sales, and according to his most recent blog post, Apple's iBooks platform doesn't hold a candle to Kindle.
"Publishers might be looking at enriched or enhanced ebooks as their new big-ticket items to replace hardcovers," Konrath writes. "But the major ebook retailer, Amazon, isn't set up for video. Kindle isn't even able to do color yet. That leaves Apple, and according to my numbers, Apple is a very small part of the ebook market. I sell 200 ebooks a day on Kindle. On iPad, I sell 100 a month."
That adds up to 6,000 ebooks through Kindle per month, versus 100 for the iBooks platform, or a 60-to-1 ratio. If his numbers are any indication of across the board performance, Jobs may need to invest in a new magical calculator.