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Old 01-03-2013, 12:17 PM   #1
djulian
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Why Not Offer Library Conversion?

As I was wandering through B&N last night (and remembering that I had a new Paperwhite arriving today), I began to think, If Amazon would offer to replace all a person's Nook books with Kindle books in exchange for that person's Nook and the purchase of a new Kindle, I think they would probably destroy the Nook.

So, I imagine the answer is pretty simple, but is there any reason Amazon or B&N couldn't do this to each other? It's a bit like TMobile offering to give you a remarkable deal if you come in with an unlocked AT&T phone.
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Old 01-03-2013, 12:48 PM   #2
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From the publisher's perspective, how would they be able verify whether Amazon has replaced legitimate versions of their books? All the publishers would see is that Amazon gave N copies of their books to customers without paying the publisher for it. At least when B&N shut down Fictionwise & EReader, they could prove exactly what the customer had already bought.

I'll personally never buy a Kindle because I already have more books than can fit on a Kindle. The Nook (and I believe the Kobo also) has an external memory slot so I can have all of my books on my reader without having to rely on having a wireless or wifi connection.
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Old 01-03-2013, 12:57 PM   #3
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It's an interesting idea. And one would think there's some way to do it. When I started looking at replacements for my iPhone, not sure if I'll stick with Apple, I saw that Samsung offered to convert/move/not sure all my music, etc that I'd bought from the iTunes store and all that i'd loaded onto my iPhone onto a new Samsung phone.

That's to say, there's precendence of a sort in the mobile phone world for something similar. I suppose that as ereader manufacturers realise most ereaders sold are to replace previous ones, rather than as new devices to new users, they'll have to start thinking about issues like this.
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Old 01-03-2013, 01:36 PM   #4
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To do that would require a link between B&N and Amazon's databases. Not going to happen. What would be the benefit to the publishers, anyway?
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Old 01-03-2013, 01:49 PM   #5
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Or here's a thought: Amazon should just support epub.

In fact, how about a common standard for all. Then we can just go back to competing on hardware, content/content pricing, and (OMG) service.
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Old 01-03-2013, 03:28 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djulian View Post
As I was wandering through B&N last night (and remembering that I had a new Paperwhite arriving today), I began to think, If Amazon would offer to replace all a person's Nook books with Kindle books in exchange for that person's Nook and the purchase of a new Kindle, I think they would probably destroy the Nook.

So, I imagine the answer is pretty simple, but is there any reason Amazon or B&N couldn't do this to each other? It's a bit like TMobile offering to give you a remarkable deal if you come in with an unlocked AT&T phone.
It could be awfully expensive for to do this for a person like me, who's bought well over a thousand books from Amazon. Let's say the average price of a book is $5 - do you think they'd shell out $5k to persuade me to buy a reader?
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Old 01-03-2013, 03:29 PM   #7
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Or here's a thought: Amazon should just support epub.
Amazon would have to be idiots to support ePub (and nobody could accuse them of lack of business sense). They sell you a Kindle essentially at cost price because they want you to buy books from their bookstore, not from B&N or Kobo.
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Old 01-03-2013, 03:39 PM   #8
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It could be awfully expensive for to do this for a person like me, who's bought well over a thousand books from Amazon. Let's say the average price of a book is $5 - do you think they'd shell out $5k to persuade me to buy a reader?
This. Because they would have to 'purchase' all the books again.
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Old 01-03-2013, 03:42 PM   #9
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The only way something like the OP suggests would work would be if the publishers set it up and then got the retailers to go along with it. Kind of like UltraViolet in the digital movie world (not that UV doesn't have plenty of problems). UV has a central database of the movies in your account and the various retailers get a feed from that telling them what you can access.
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Old 01-03-2013, 05:05 PM   #10
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I suspect that Amazon just acknowledges that people who want to read their books on another device will use Calibre, and vice versa for those with B&N who want to read on a Kindle.

All the publishers, and book sellers, would be very aware of Calibre and other library management systems, that promote format change.

As time goes by more and more people will become ebook/ereader savvy and make their choices as to which ereader they'll buy based on ease of use relevant to their needs, and not based on brand of the reader, or the types of ebook formats that can be read.

Ereader brand lock in, by virtue of the ebook format, will become less and less of a consideration.
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Old 01-03-2013, 05:10 PM   #11
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From the publisher's perspective, how would they be able verify whether Amazon has replaced legitimate versions of their books?
B&N's DRM.
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Old 01-03-2013, 05:58 PM   #12
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...

As time goes by more and more people will become ebook/ereader savvy and make their choices as to which ereader they'll buy based on ease of use relevant to their needs, and not based on brand of the reader, or the types of ebook formats that can be read.

Ereader brand lock in, by virtue of the ebook format, will become less and less of a consideration.
I don't think so. There are still plenty of people locked into iPods and iTunes because they're purchasing music from Apple and can't use their DRM protected stuff elsewhere. Plenty are trapped and don't know what options they might have.

It's similar with e-books and e-book readers. I have a friend who has a Kindle. I tried to give her a public domain copy of a classic novel that I'd converted to mobi for her. It all went well until she confessed not knowing how to even get this file I e-mailed her into her Kindle. THAT is the future of e-book reading. It's exactly what the retailers want.

In both the iTunes and e-book cases, there are ways around it, but they're obscure, inconvenient, and cumbersome enough that many people don't even know it's an option. Others that find out dismiss it as too much trouble.
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Old 01-03-2013, 06:11 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by djulian View Post
As I was wandering through B&N last night (and remembering that I had a new Paperwhite arriving today), I began to think, If Amazon would offer to replace all a person's Nook books with Kindle books in exchange for that person's Nook and the purchase of a new Kindle, I think they would probably destroy the Nook.

So, I imagine the answer is pretty simple, but is there any reason Amazon or B&N couldn't do this to each other? It's a bit like TMobile offering to give you a remarkable deal if you come in with an unlocked AT&T phone.
As others have suggested, this could be expensive for the retailer, as each publisher would want to be paid for each book they duplicated. Imagine if the reader had one hundred books and, on average, the publisher's royalty would be three dollars per book. That's three hundred dollars the retailer has to pay out. That's not lost revenue. That's actual cash out of the bank account. A hundred books is a small library, but enough to make a user reluctant to toss it all away, but what about readers with hundreds or thousands of books? Given that Amazon, for example, makes little on the hardware and often has discounts on the books, they might need the reader to purchase hundreds of books before they actually turn a profit on that three-hundred dollar outlay.

They'd be better off offering, to use your example, Nook owners a three-hundred dollar credit on their Amazon account in exchange for their Nook. It would actually cost them less.

Trying something like this might run up against the law, however, as an unfair trade practice. Absorbing huge losses to squeeze out competitors and try to further dominate the market may not please regulators.
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Old 01-03-2013, 06:35 PM   #14
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Amazon may simply be thinking that if they wait long enough, B&N will implode.

"Sometimes, the best revenge is just to outlive them."

(In other words: Amazon has the upper hand anyway. Why spend time and money--and risk government action--trying to crush a beaten foe?)
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Old 01-04-2013, 01:43 PM   #15
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Amazon would have to be idiots to support ePub (and nobody could accuse them of lack of business sense). They sell you a Kindle essentially at cost price because they want you to buy books from their bookstore, not from B&N or Kobo.
I would contend that it could be good for business. They don't need to make it their primary format. But if the devices supported it, think of all the customers (dissatisfied with B&N's customer service and pricing, for example) who could easily jump to a Kindle without the need for a special "library conversion" policy. Then they go merrily buying .azw formatted books for their Kindle, quite happily, into the future.

That sounds like smart business.

Even if they did drop .azw as their standard and went to a form of .epub (like most of the other big players), they seem fully capable of competing on service, pricing, and selection. I'm not a big fan of their hardware, but the service and pricing factor can be very persuasive in that equation.
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