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Old 11-24-2007, 12:37 AM   #1
SanAntone
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How will Sony respond?

I'm curious as to what your thoughts are as to how Sony will respond to the Kindle.

First, they've lowered some prices in the connect stores. I think we'll see some increased efforts to get more titles there.

The Borders store is run by Amazon so is a partnership with them to download books impossible?

When a strong competitor comes to market, usually consumers benefit. I'm hoping, as a Kindle user, that Sony responds strongly and pushes Amazon as much as I'm sure Sony users are appreciating the drop in book prices caused by Amazon.
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Old 11-24-2007, 12:41 AM   #2
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The Borders store is run by Amazon so is a partnership with them to download books impossible?
The Borders/Amazon agreement ends soon, January '08 I believe. Sony/Borders do have a partnership, but in reading some help/faq stuff on Connect it hasn't been fully implemented yet. Perhaps it won't fully launch until the deal with Amazon ends & Borders own site officially launches.
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Old 11-24-2007, 06:30 AM   #3
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Brian is reflecting what I understand about the complicated nature of the ebook market currently. Borders is under contract with Amazon and so can't officially begin with a competitor until the current contract ends in January.

The amazing thing in all of this is how blatantly Barnes&Noble is staying out of the whole ebook marketplace.

I am very hopeful that the Sony/Borders partnership changes things drastically for the better as far as number of titles as well as prices. Whether we can go into a local Borders and buy/download books to our Sony Readers makes no difference to me, I'm happy to do it from home over the internet, but the book-world clout of Borders should have some positive impact.

What I would like to know is who is leaving whom in the Borders/Amazon split? Did Amazon tell Borders to take a hike, since Amazon knew it had the Kindle coming out, or did Borders decide to break with Amazon in an effort to take more control of its web-presence and saw the partnership with Sony as having more potential?

One aspect of the Kindle makes me hesitate (well, lots of aspects make me hesitate, but this one is very important for lots of users) and that is the always-available internet connection which isn't standard wi-fi. There is a monthly fee for using that which Amazon is currently picking up for Kindle users. One report I heard mentioned a fee of something like $50/month for a single subscription. That means that in 8 months, they've wasted the entire income from the Kindle to keep it connected anywhere. Realizing of course that Amazon would have negotiated a much lower per/unit price for that connectivity, it won't be able to keep that service free forever.

What will happen at that point for all the Kindle users who think they're paying only $1/day (or whatever the daily subscription rate is) for reading the NYTimes or WallStreetJournal every morning on the subway, when Amazon stops paying that network fee and kindle users find themselves facing a $600/year subscription fee on top of the $1/day for each paper?
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Old 11-24-2007, 09:20 AM   #4
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This is what I've gathered through various press releases. According to Borders, leaving Amazon was their idea. They originally ran to Amazon when their own online sales efforts proved unprofitable.

Their new site has been under public beta for a while and really looks nice, with a browsing feature that makes it more like a pbookstore.

They're expanding their partnership with Sony, which will include a co-branded online bookstore. I'm assuming that will be something like borders.connect.com.

Borders is also going to be launching media stores that will include the ability to browse products in-store and buy them digitally.

These moves should start taking place in the first quarter of 2008.
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Old 11-24-2007, 09:25 AM   #5
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I'm not worried about the EVDO charges for the Kindle.

None of us know the details, but the last thing Amazon would do, in my opinion, is to start charging a monthly fee for downloading mags, books, etc. Now, they might for general web use, but using the Kindle for surfing is not very practical.

My thoughts are that they aren't paying $50 per month. My guess is that they are paying per download and the price is built into the purchase. That's why blogs cost $ and why it costs .10 to email a converted file.

Good discussion so far.
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Old 11-24-2007, 10:36 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SanAntone View Post
I'm not worried about the EVDO charges for the My thoughts are that they aren't paying $50 per month. My guess is that they are paying per download and the price is built into the purchase. That's why blogs cost $ and why it costs .10 to email a converted file.
Yes, they're probably acting almost like an MVNO, they have to pay Sprint wholesale per kb, and that cost is passed directly to the consumer via subscription and attachment fees. Also, $50 is a bit steep, I pay $30 for unlimited Sprint EVDO including 500 minutes and unlimited text messages. If they can afford for their customers to pay so little, I would imagine their partners pay much less.
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Old 11-24-2007, 12:57 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SanAntone View Post
I'm not worried about the EVDO charges for the Kindle.

None of us know the details, but the last thing Amazon would do, in my opinion, is to start charging a monthly fee for downloading mags, books, etc. Now, they might for general web use, but using the Kindle for surfing is not very practical.
I can see the headlines now. Amazon will now start to charge people an online fee and a download fee with the spokesman saying "it was unavoidable" because of the costs associated with running the network.
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Old 11-24-2007, 04:18 PM   #8
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Sorry, but anyone who thinks that buying a $400 device is going to give them free, unlimited, wireless internet access for life is living in cloud-cuckoo land. It's ridiculous even to suppose that's even a possibility. They've got to pass on the data costs to the customer by some mechanism or other.
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Old 11-24-2007, 04:26 PM   #9
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Since the words are written to the screen of the Kindle by fairies with magic wands I don't think this is such a stretch.
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Old 11-25-2007, 01:17 AM   #10
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Since the words are written to the screen of the Kindle by fairies with magic wands I don't think this is such a stretch.
Oh, NO, not that again!

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They've got to pass on the data costs to the customer by some mechanism or other.
Perhaps. For quite some time they've been picking up the shipping costs on orders over $25 shipped by the slowest option -- do they do that in the UK? I haven't every checked.

Anyway, if they can negotiate a per KB rate with no monthly connection fee (odd, yes, but not that far-fetched an idea for a company with their throw-weight), even if the per KB rate wasn't very good, it'd probably be cheaper than what they're already dropping on "Super Saver" shipping.

No magical fairies or cuckoos required.
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Old 11-25-2007, 08:55 AM   #11
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Anyway, if they can negotiate a per KB rate with no monthly connection fee (odd, yes, but not that far-fetched an idea for a company with their throw-weight),
Nothing at all far-fetched about that.

Most people in the UK have "pay as you go" mobile phones, rather than ones with a monthly contract, and that's exactly how data traffic is charged on such deals. I have one myself and only get charged for the data I transfer - I think the rate is about 7p/MB. If you're a heavy mobile internet user (I'm certainly not) there are price plans which give you much lower rates with a minimum monthly fee.

Given that books are pretty small files (a typical novel is generally around 200-300kb as an eBook) such charging would work fine.
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Old 11-26-2007, 12:21 AM   #12
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I don't expect Amazon to start charging for the connection time needed to browse for and buy books (other than the cost of the books) but I do expect them to start charging for web browser access once they get out of "experimental" mode.

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Old 11-26-2007, 02:56 AM   #13
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I don't expect Amazon to start charging for the connection time needed to browse for and buy books (other than the cost of the books) but I do expect them to start charging for web browser access once they get out of "experimental" mode.

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They've got to charge for it. It is, as I said above, completely unreasonable to expect to get unlimited free internet access because EVDO data transfer is inherently not free - someone has to pick up the bill at the end of the day.
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Old 11-26-2007, 06:44 AM   #14
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I agree with Harry, and it is that great unknown which may be a huge surprise to the early adopters. And I'm wondering about the connect fee also, not just the download fee.

For instance, Borders claims to be a wi-fi hotspot, but you can only use it if you pay a fee or already have a t-mobile wi-fi access account (for which you're already paying a monthly fee.) What you do once you're on-line through that one-time payment is up to you and any expenses you incur are additional to that one-time access fee.

That's a concern also -- will Amazon be able to sustain the connect fees if people go browsing through their ebook store and decide not to buy anything that particular day. I can see that they will eventually have to charge some sort of access fee.

With that said, though, Amazon made it through how many years posting a loss each year while still growing? And people kept on investing more money into it even though it hadn't shown a profit. I haven't checked to see if it's shown a profit yet, but they may be able to operate their ebook division at a loss for a long time.

Yes, there's free shipping (slowest ground rate) once you've accumulated over $25 in eligible purchases, but you have to wait until you get to that point, if you order a single paperback book or CD before they ship any of them to you. They do have a higher level which includes free shipping (their standard 2-day shipping) for everything but you have to pay a one-time fee to subscribe to that service.

So they may offer some such service for the kindle. Or they may simply build in the fee to all their subscriptions and ebook prices with enough extra in that built-in fee to pay for those who browse but don't buy.
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Old 11-26-2007, 10:13 AM   #15
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I think they have to build the online fees it into the price of the books. It will be interesting to see how much time people really spend browsing books. I think that it will get old fast unless you are looking for something to read and that leads to spending money. If they start charging a monthly fee for the opportunity to buy books then they will loose the edge that they have over other readers. At a minimum they would need to allow people to buy using the amazon web page and allow the Kindle to accept pushes of the content. I'm still thinking that they are banking on people not browsing so much unless they plan to spend money.

-Greg
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