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View Poll Results: Should Amazon license their Kindle service to third parties?
Yes, this would make perfect sense. 36 72.00%
No, Amazon needs the exclusivity of the Kindle. 14 28.00%
Voters: 50. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 01-16-2008, 04:41 AM   #1
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Should Amazon sell Kindle service to Sony?

Ok, let's face the bitter truth. In respect to hardware design, Sony did a much better job with the Reader (even with the first incarnation) than Amazon did with the Kindle. Of course who'd be really surprised given that Sony has been into the gadget business for how many years? Amazon, on the other hand, we know better as a service provider.

So... what do you think about the idea of Amazon licensing their Kindle service and software to other companies, including Sony? Imagine how many new e-readers would pop up, if (especially smaller) companies wouldn't have to worry about building e-book stores. And Amazon could be happy because even more people would purchase e-books from their store, no matter whether they own the Kindle or not.
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Old 01-16-2008, 05:43 AM   #2
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It may make sense for Amazon... but would it also make sense for Sony? Where is the big buck? In selling the device or in selling the e-books?
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Old 01-16-2008, 09:37 AM   #3
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I feel the kindle is a better design than the sony. It has always-on internet and delivery mechanism, a keyboard, faster paging, fast-line selection/dictionary lookup, wikipedia integration, etc. And since the store is far superior, where is the need for amazon to do anything? They have an always-on connection to the store, and a huge store of services.

Lets see what their sales are though. To date I don't know anything has been announced. But the sony over the kindle? No way.
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Old 01-16-2008, 09:57 AM   #4
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I feel the kindle is a better design than the sony. It has always-on internet and delivery mechanism, a keyboard, faster paging, fast-line selection/dictionary lookup, wikipedia integration, etc.
You are describing my laptop, which is just as portable as the Kindle, albeit a little heavier. When I take a business trip, I have the laptop with me, so why do I need 2 of them? On vacation, I want to be away from my laptop so why would I take it in another form?
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Old 01-16-2008, 10:48 AM   #5
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When I first got my Kindle, I also thought the Sony design was better (I have a 505). Certainly the Sony is better *looking*...

Each has features I think are better. For reading in bed, I prefer the Kindle because of that nice big page-turn button. I am a fast reader, very fast, and I go thru that 6 inch page in no time. My hand would cramp because of having to keep my finger on the Sony's tiny page-turn so much. I wish the Sony had a button that ran up the entire right side like Kindle does.

Kindle's keyboard is, IMHO, too much extra baggage. Others might disagree but for a casual ebook reader, who needs it? Sony wins here.

Largely because of this, the Sony is easier to carry around because it is smaller. I expect Kindle would never be as thin as Sony because of the extra whispernet hardware, but thin is not so important. My Sony reader slides right into my purse, but the Kindle's keyboard makes it too big.

The user-replaceable battery in Kindle is a clear winner. And it's not even that expensive to buy a new one.

I love being able to browse the store and buy directly from the device. Kindle wins.

For book selection (and this one is surprising), Sony wins, at least in the genres I like (sci-fi/fantasy). Lilith Saintcrow's latest, book 5 in the Dante Valentine series, has been in Sony's store for a couple of weeks. Carrie Vaughn's latest is there, too. No sign of either in the Kindle store. There are others I could mention, but as I said, it surprises me.

My ideal reader would have a larger screen, decent battery life, online store access, and better ergonomics (like that page turn button). Neither one of these is there yet.
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Old 01-16-2008, 10:51 AM   #6
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You are describing my laptop, which is just as portable as the Kindle, albeit a little heavier. When I take a business trip, I have the laptop with me, so why do I need 2 of them? On vacation, I want to be away from my laptop so why would I take it in another form?
Well, I personally don't have internet access outside my home, period. But, I do live in an area with good Whispernet coverage. So for me the Kindle is perfect, and while I might give Sony a few points for style it's a vastly secondary consideration to the Kindle's superior function.
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Old 01-16-2008, 10:53 AM   #7
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Well, I personally don't have internet access outside my home, period. But, I do live in an area with good Whispernet coverage. So for me the Kindle is perfect, and while I might give Sony a few points for style it's a vastly secondary consideration to the Kindle's superior function.
You forget that should Amazon sell their services to others, Sony & Co could always come up with updated devices that implement EVDO to support those services. While I don't know if it would make sense for Sony (as they have their own store trying to sell e-books), I can see a lot of smaller players, like iRex and HanLin embracing such a potential development.
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Old 01-16-2008, 11:08 AM   #8
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You forget that should Amazon sell their services to others, Sony & Co could always come up with updated devices that implement EVDO to support those services. While I don't know if it would make sense for Sony (as they have their own store trying to sell e-books), I can see a lot of smaller players, like iRex and HanLin embracing such a potential development.
Actually I don't think they should really. The size of Amazon's library is an advantage for the Kindle. I can't see Amazon giving that advantage away. Does Apple open itunes to its competitors? I'm not asking rhetorically, I actually don't know.

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Old 01-16-2008, 11:18 AM   #9
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This is true. But iTunes belongs to Apple and Apple is a hardware designer. Amazon, on the other hand... by opening up their services, they could potentially sell more e-books (through 3rd party devices). And, they wouldn't have to bother anymore about hiring third parties to design hardware.
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Old 01-16-2008, 11:28 AM   #10
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This is true. But iTunes belongs to Apple and Apple is a hardware designer. Amazon, on the other hand... by opening up their services, they could potentially sell more e-books (through 3rd party devices). And, they wouldn't have to bother anymore about hiring third parties to design hardware.
Hmm, not sure I understand what you're saying here. The Kindle Stone belongs to Amazon just as much as iTunes belongs to Apple. As far as Amazon not hiring third parties to design hardware, I don't see what you're getting at, unless you're suggesting that Amazon drop the Kindle and just sell ebooks to everyone. I don't care much for that idea either. Please correct me if I'm misunderstanding.
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Old 01-16-2008, 11:28 AM   #11
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The difference is Apple is an evil company, and Steve Jobs wants to rule the world and destroy all competition.

I'd like to think of Amazon would want to be more of an enabler for other companies in the industry, since Amazon is an established retailer for all the competitors products, and wants to provide a digital store for all digitized content.

So logically, Amazon wants to be more like a Google, a provider of services and monetization for everybody in the industry.

So I guess the day Sony or any E-ink competitors puts HSDPA or EVDO in their E-books, Amazon should provide them with access to the Kindle store. Though the wireless data plan service aggreement has to be closely in relation with the content distribution revenue sharing that would probably be negociated.

It's probably not like a one time licence fee. Amazon probably wants a small piece of the wireless data used to download content hosted on the Amazon service.

Last edited by Charbax; 01-16-2008 at 11:33 AM.
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Old 01-16-2008, 02:58 PM   #12
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Excellent comments top to bottom. I've had all prior ebook readers, but have packed away everything now that I have finally found one I like -- my Kindle of course. I really have no complaints at all. I even solved the common complaint that they touch the page forward button on the right by accident by using the case always.

I like it's appearance -- it is very functional, and those who like design over function will never get my money.

I've had the best service from Kindle that I have ever experienced in the last twenty years -- a human being answers their phone. Wish Amazon was even close to being so good. And their phone support is based in Washington State with people who really speak English from birth -- not people from India or somewhere people work cheap, and know nothing about the thing they are suppoed to support.

I've bought many books from the Kindle Store since I got delivery of my Kindle on Dec. 4th. I did get a book from Kindle where the author was really ripping people off about something they didn't know at all, so I called Kindle and they refunded my money immediately -- no problems. But I really like the availability of ebooks from other vendors -- many of which will send my ebook purchase direct to my Kindle -- I really don't mind paying Kindle ten cents to fund their cost to send things to me via Sprint wirelessly.

How do I rate my Kindle over my Sony? The Kindle is much superior, even if they do both use the same screen technology. And I really do need the keyboard, and use it all the time to search for things, with many other uses besides.

Charles Wilkes, San Jose, Calif.
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Old 01-16-2008, 03:58 PM   #13
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I've not seen Sony bragging about their ebook library, they have to realize especially now, with Amazon and its much larger offering. Sony needs to step it up if it wants to compete at all. Then again Sony has a history of doing what it wants no matter what. Sony isn't in the book selling business, its an electronics maker. A deal with Amazon could only help their reader business.
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Old 01-16-2008, 07:40 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by rhadin View Post
You are describing my laptop, which is just as portable as the Kindle, albeit a little heavier. When I take a business trip, I have the laptop with me, so why do I need 2 of them? On vacation, I want to be away from my laptop so why would I take it in another form?
It isn't really like a laptop at all. It's not for websurfing or email or writing docs. If you tried to do any sort of work aside from reading on this, you'd tear your hair out. The internet and keyboard are there to make reading easier, not to turn it into a UMPC. It's a reader that allows you to get a new book in seconds, quickly look up a word or get some more information about something in Wikipedia. When you're reading a book and just want a little more info on something it makes doing a quick lookup almost seamless to your reading.

By the way, I really doubt your laptop is as portable or as comfy to curl up with as a book. The Kindle is.
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Old 01-16-2008, 07:55 PM   #15
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It may make sense for Amazon... but would it also make sense for Sony? Where is the big buck? In selling the device or in selling the e-books?
I agree. I doubt Sony is making much of a profit if any on their Readers. They need to sell content to make it worthwhile which makes it less attractive to them to add .azw support even if Amazon let them.

I think Amazon could pick up some customers if they let other reading devices read .azw. Maybe they'll consider that after the Kindle has a more stable foothold in the marketplace. The thing that would concern me in their shoes is whether they would be able to do as well with the periodical content if more people opted for devices without Whispernet. Those could be more attractive to many people, especially if they're just getting into ebooks, because of the price difference. I would imagine periodicals probably give Amazon the best margin out of the content it sells and it's the auto-delivery that makes that worth money. It's a convenience thing. If you have a Sony and you're going to have to load the stuff over the USB anyway, why pay for content you can get for free? Since Amazon's probably taking a loss on their Best Sellers, they could be looking at a situation where they're sending money out the door on the books and not making it up on other content. Ideally, I want to see all these markets open up but I can see where these companies are coming from, too.
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