We all know Amazon as that wonderful online location to buy just about anything, including our lovely Kindles and ebooks. However, Amazon has been granted a patent for a brick and mortar store. What can this possibly mean?
I doubt Amazon will open up stores across the U.S. That goes against the model that made them so successful. It not only goes against the idea of selling things online, but against the model that has made the Kindle (and soon, the Kindle DX) so successful. They’ve created a device that you buy online, and then make further purchases with the device that delivers content wirelessly. I don’t see how a store could possibly fit into that equation.
I believe this is all a result of Amazon’s venture into the grocery delivery service they tried back a few years ago. When you compare the images included in their patent to the pickup stations they used for the grocery service, a resemblance is impossible to deny.
The patent in question was originally filed back in 2007. It’s possible that Amazon filed the patent when they were just getting the grocery service out the door. The grocery service never took off, but two years later the patent was granted. So it’s easy to become confused by the fact that a patent was granted for a new storefront when many of us have never seen the physical product of Amazon’s failed grocery service.
Two of the features I like most about my Kindle are Notes and Highlights. When I first began using my Kindle, I barely gave the features any thought until I began to read more non-fiction. The first time I came across a bit of information I wanted to remember, the light bulb went off and I went straight to the highlights feature.
I found myself highlighting at least one or two excerpts per chapter and then reviewing and reading the context several times throughout the book. The notes feature is something I use less, but I still see the value in using it. Pulling yourself out of a book to scribble down your thoughts is something I’d imagine many people would struggle with. I rarely sit down to read with paper and pen at hand, though, I often wish I had. The notes feature takes care of both of these problems.
Amazon has very recently enabled another way to access your highlights and notes. You can now review them via your Amazon account. This can be very helpful for those of us who travel without (or forget) our Kindle.
This should be one more way to help sell the recently announced Kindle DX to students and schools. Those who will use the DX to read textbooks may benefit the most.
So far, it appears that Amazon does not want us to share our highlights and notes. I can see the legal reason behind not sharing the highlights, but our own personal notes? Well, maybe one day. I suppose we should focus on the positive fact that Amazon continues to improve Kindle owner’s experiences and has opened up yet another way to enjoy our books.
I came across a humorous parody of the Kindle DX this morning. The funny guys at Atom.com have a brief video of the currently unreleased Kindle 9XXXD, the world’s largest and most powerful e-reader.
There’s no doubt they’re playing on the somewhat unconventional move that Amazon made with their newest reader, the Kindle DX. Most gadgets and devices get smaller and feature rich. The Kindle DX, while offering a few new features, is larger than its predecessors.
Its increase in size really isn’t worthy of much debate. When you consider how Amazon is planning to sell the Kindle DX to schools and students, the larger screen size and native PDF support make an ideal product for the academic market. This helps to explain why I’m hearing of so many Kindle DX Pre-Orders.
I’ve been reading with my Kindle 2 almost every night for the past two months and I must admit that I’m hooked. I don’t know if I can justify moving to the DX when it is released, but I would love to check one out when they become available.
Amazon has released an update to the popular iPhone Kindle app. Version 1.1 allows us to read in both portrait and landscape modes. Also available in the update is the ability to “lock” the mode so that the screen doesn’t rotate when you don’t want it to.
Other new features include:
- Turn pages with a tap
- Zoom in on images with a “pinch”
- Change the text and background color combinations to suit.
Add all these features to the fact that Amazon recently iPhone purchases easier and the acquisition of Lexcycle (the company behind another free e-book app, Stanza), and you’ve got another great platform to keep you reading on the go.
This is a really smart move for Amazon because, let’s face it, we can’t always carry our Kindle or Kindle DX around where ever we go, but we almost always have our phones. This focus on the platform rather than the product should carry Amazon a long way.
On May 15, Amazon issued a law suit against Discovery Communications, claiming that Discovery is infringing upon four e-commerce patents. This law suit comes not long after the law suit that Discovery issued against Amazon which claimed that technologies used in the Amazon Kindle infringes on a patent of their own.
This news, as reported by Business Insider, isn’t expected to blow up into a huge story since the affected sector within each company is rather small.
Discovery is quick to point out that Amazon’s rebuttal is unrelated to their e-reader suit. At first, it may seem like Amazon is trying to “change the subject,” but patent infringement looks the same from any angle. However, Amazon is likely using their follow-up suit as a method of bringing Discovery to the table for negotiations. Also, a good point regarding patents was made in the article:
…but it’s a reminder that patents are sticky, and everyone is potentially touching everyone else’s intellectual property.
That’s one reason Apple might not be overly aggressive with its mobile patents, such as suing Palm over its use of multi-touch mobile UI technology, which Apple has patented. Palm has plenty of patents, too, and Apple could be violating some.
According to an article at msnbc.com, several schools will be running a Kindle Pilot Program, putting a number of Kindle DX units in students’ hands for academic use. The Kindles are to be sold to the schools at a 50% discount, and the students will be allowed to use the Kindles free of charge.
The five other schools launching DX trials this fall — Case Western Reserve University, Pace University, Princeton University, Reed College, and Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia — said they plan to offer the Kindle edition of selected texts from three publishers: Cengage Learning, Pearson Education and Wiley, together representing more than 60 percent of the U.S. higher-education textbook market.
Pace said it will get Kindles at a 50 percent discount from Amazon for the 50 students in its pilot program, and then provide them to the students at no charge.
Another section of the article continues to hope for lower electronic textbook prices. Arizona State is hoping for the price to be cut in half. I think that’s a little drastic considering that Amazon is currently losing money with most Kindle version purchases. Though, anyone who’s been to college knows that the price of textbooks is the result of obscene markup. So it’s possible students could see a significant drop in price. We will just have to wait and see, though, as Amazon has yet to comment on how the Kindle textbooks will be priced.
I’m really interested to see how students and teaches feel about the Kindle once the pilot programs have been completed. I still hold to the opinion that many students will be very willing to adopt the Kindle once they have used one. So much so that I wrote an article about Students Using Kindle Textbooks.
An interesting point I’d like to explore is that I haven’t heard of any of the competition going as far as running pilot programs at schools. On top of that, I haven’t heard of any negotiations between Amazon’s competitors and publishers. Amazon is has targeted schools and students and is going after them quite aggressively. If they can secure the academic market, you can bet the Kindle will be around for years to come.
If anyone out there has information about Amazon’s competitors targeting students and schools, please leave a comment below.
Many of you have probably already seen this, but for the sake of those who haven’t, I’m posting this anyway. One of the guys over at Incredible Stuff I Made, with a little help from Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories created a perfect wooden model of the Kindle 2. You can read all about it and check out all the images on their kindling post. The term, “literal humor” is appropriate on so many levels.
A recent article from Wired magazine discusses Why E-Books Look So Ugly. It’s a nice read and makes some good points about how typography, illustrations, and cover art are being lost in the shuffle and reduced to black and gray pixels.
The article touched on the Kindle and pointed out some interesting figures:
With the popularity of the Kindle and other e-book readers, electronic book sales in the United States have doubled every quarter. Though still a very small percentage of the overall book industry, sales of e-books touched $15.5 million in the first quarter of the year, up from $3.2 million the same quarter a year ago.
One of the more prominent points being echoed through the article dealt with the font and typeface:
“Different typefaces are like like having different actors in play or different voices in an audio book,” Simonson says. “The variations in typeface influence the personality of the book. Sticking to one font is much like having the same actor play all the different parts.”
I can understand the argument to an extent, but still, to me, convenience outweighs the variety of fonts and the other elements that make up the “whole package”. But that’s just the direction the world is moving. We’re willing to sacrifice a few of the perks in order to get the true content faster, easier, and cheaper.
Two years ago, I wouldn’t have thought I’d ever prefer downloading music versus buying a physical CD. However, I can’t tell you the last time I made the trek to the store to buy a CD instead of just hopping onto iTunes and having it downloaded in less than 5 minutes. And judging by the number of CD stores going out of business, I’m not the only one.
Likewise, gone are the days of me hunting around online for a Borders coupon to print out and heading to the store to fetch a new hardback release when I can have it downloaded from the comfort of my own home, and at a cheaper price than I could get with the coupon. If the typeface happens to be a little different, that’s fine with me. Once I’m immersed in the story, those “whole package” frills seem to take a backseat anyways.
What about you? Does having just one typeface limit the amount of enjoyment you get out of your Kindle?
Amazon recently announced a new beta program, “Amazon Kindle Publishing for Blogs,” that allows blog owners to publish their blogs with the Kindle. Kindle users subscribe to the blogs for a monthly fee and blog owners can earn up to 30% of each subscription.
The Kindle subscriptions can cost up to $2 per month, which could earn the blog owner up to $0.60 per subscription each month. Once multiplied by the potential thousands of readers any particular blog may have, the monthly subscription income can add up very quickly. A blog with 5,000 subscriptions can earn up to $36,000 per year.
There is no upfront cost to the blog owners who wish to publish with the Kindle. All they must do is register with Kindle Publishing for Blogs and provide them with the info needed to receive a check.
For those of you who happen to own a popular blog, this program has the potential to instantly add an additional revenue stream. If you’re blog is small or just getting started, this is certainly a good incentive to do your best. You can read more about the program with the Kindle Publishing for Blogs Help section.
Kindle owners can subscribe to blogs now. If you’re still thinking about buying a kindle, there’s still time to pre-order a Kindle DX. If you can’t wait until summer or you’d rather rock the popular 6″ model, the Kindle 2 is available for immediate shipment.
I have a fairly long commute to and from work each day and I usually listen to a local AM radio station to pass the time. Whenever I need a break from all the talk, I usually flip over to another station for some music. Sometimes, though, I’m in the mood for neither.
Recently, I’ve been carrying my Kindle to keep me company in the car. I had not used the “read to me” feature very often and I figured the time I spend in the car everyday was a good opportunity.
Yesterday, I loaded up Alice in Wonderland before pulling out of the parking lot. My Kindle began reading and I immediately became aware of one small factor that could hinder my enjoyment: road noise. I increased the volume to the maximum setting, which compensated. Driving on the city streets did not interfere much at all as I could hear the words of Lewis Carrol quite well. It wasn’t until I merged into interstate traffic that I had to strain to listen.
There are a couple of things I may try in the future. First, I should try taking off my kindle cover. The speakers are on the back of the Kindle, so taking the cover off is really the only way to hear the Kindle unobstructed. Second, I guess I could try using an ear bud, but I really think that’s a bit unsafe while driving. If I was a passenger, I wouldn’t hesitate using some kind of earphones.
All said, listening to the Kindle read to me was an enjoyable experience. If I was to use this feature daily, I could probably knock out 2 or so books per week.
After giving this some thought, I can imagine some people (myself included) would only listen to “casual” books with their Kindle. However, I can totally see using the Kindle to read newspapers and magazines. This seems like a perfect way to use the “Read to Me” feature, since most of us are used to consuming news-type information in this manner.
If anyone has a “read to me” experience they’d like to share, please leave a comment below!