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Old 08-13-2008, 04:55 PM   #1
rhadin
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Question Amazon Kindle Store - simply a filler?

There is an interesting note at Teleread blog regarding Amazon's ebook listings. According to the blog and Adobe's Bill McCoy, "the selection of commercially relevant e-books at the Kindle Store is still very thin. Less coverage of what really sells in trade than a decent airport bookstore. Much of the 'vast' Kindle Store selection is filler eDocs. Some major publisher lists are MIA. . . . [T]he race to get everything that sells in digital isn’t over, it isn’t even half over. When you get beyond U.S. market, it has barely begun, and Kindle is not the leader."

I wonder how much of the Kindle Store ebook selection is simply filler as compared to the Sony Connect store.
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Old 08-13-2008, 05:28 PM   #2
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Much of the “vast” Kindle Store selection is filler eDocs.
I have not found this to be true. Other posters in these forums have researched this and found the number of classics and non-commercial titles to be relatively small. It seems to me that the author goes into this with a specific anti-Kindle bias. Without some serious research to back him up I don't see much, if any, merit in his assertion.
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Old 08-13-2008, 05:32 PM   #3
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Mmm, while I definitely would like to see much more mainstream content - particularly when there are 'holes' in series - I have to disagree that there's not a lot out there already. Definitely far more than in any airport bookstore I've ever been to!

I will say that to some extent, what is available is dictating my reading habits. I tend to browse more among the smaller selection. But when they announced the Man Booker Prize longlist a couple of weeks ago, I checked the list against what's available in ebook format. And with the exception of 2 books that aren't published until later this year and 3 that aren't available in the US - all of the books I could have easily picked up in hardcopy format were available on the Kindle (and fictionwise, I believe.) I was stunned, and pleasantly so. Last year at this time, I think I managed to get one or two in ebook format and the cost on them was prohibitive.

Also - does Amazon have an exclusive on many books at all? Basically everything I've ever seen there, I've also seen on one or more of the other ebook vendor sites. Amazon's real edge continues to be their pricing - something that I am sure they will slowly let creep up as more people adopt ebooks. That's the model they followed when breaking into the world as physical booksellers, after all.
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Old 08-13-2008, 05:41 PM   #4
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I gave up reading Teleread because I got tired of the anti-ebook reader and particularly anti-Kindle stuff on it. (Also, the "how to get your girlfriend to read ebooks" thing was both stupid and tasteless.)

If you are talking an airport bookstore like the two Powells Books stores in the Portland airport, maybe. But, around the book stores in my town, the Amazon bookstore has FAR more books available. In addition, the Amazon bookstore is merely one of many sources available to me.
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Old 08-13-2008, 06:27 PM   #5
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Yeah, the article was a load.

If I wanted to read just best sellers I'd buy my books at Wal-Mart. I don't.

Discounting all the niche books the Kindle offers as not important because they aren't best sellers is severely missing the point. Most ebook stores worth a damn have most the big books - what makes the Kindle store different, and why I went that way, is that I can get niche stuff! I hardly ever read best sellers, or a lot of fiction in general... but their non-fiction stuff is great, and I'm constantly finding on stuff that has just been added.

When I had both Sony and Kindle, I looked up ten books that I like that aren't terribly common. Sony had NONE of them in their store. The Kindle had like 7.

The site does get a bit old... I'm so damn tired of the anti-DRM screed. I hate it too.. but man, talk about something. It's like a linux site... get over your damn selves and figure out what matters most - CONTENT and USABILITY! Whoever brings me the books I want as easy as possible... that is who will get my money.

That's how the iPod won. That's how just about all tech wins in the end. Philosophy has little to do with it.
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Old 08-13-2008, 09:14 PM   #6
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Amazon makes it much easier than most other sites to monitor its ebook categories. From the "Kindle Books" page in the Kindle Store (154,266 Results):

Quote:
Category
Kindle Books
Fiction (58,363)
Nonfiction (92,820)
Advice & How-to (8,458)
Arts & Entertainment (4,129)
Biographies & Memoirs (4,992)
Business & Investing (14,078)
Children's Chapter Books (3,510)
Computers & Internet (8,093)
Fantasy (2,702)
General (751)
History (10,419)
Humor (2,484)
Lifestyle & Home (4,864)
Literary Fiction (3,960)
Mystery & Thrillers (7,149)
Parenting & Families (2,355)
Politics & Current Events (5,860)
Reference (4,748)
Religion & Spirituality (8,658)
Romance (9,157)
Science (24,588)
Science Fiction (4,683)
Sports (1,398)
Travel (1,174)
The catagories don't line up exactly, but FictionWise (for example) has 1,321 titles in its History category and 4,436 under Science Fiction. It is very clear that Amazon has far more non-fiction than other sites. This isn't a new observation of course. The point has been made before that Amazon has been very aggressive in getting non-fiction titles as ebooks. These may have been low hanging fruit, because they were probably already in electronic form - just lacking an ebook marketplace.

I'm sure the vast majority of the 92,820 non-fiction titles are "filler" to the trade, but it costs Amazon almost nothing to "stock" these ebooks and the profit margin is likely higher too (fewer discounts). You are far more likely to find a non-fiction title you are looking for in the Kindle store than in any other single site.
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Old 08-14-2008, 07:19 AM   #7
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Interesting. The author of that article works for Adobe. My understanding is that they want to be relevant in this market and that the opinions expressed are probably directly commercially driven.

Last edited by SanAntone; 08-14-2008 at 07:22 AM. Reason: re-read article again
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Old 08-14-2008, 07:25 AM   #8
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I think that Amazon is in a unique position that they are so big in the p-book distribution they can pressure the publishers to make the e-books available. I give them credit for adding the button to request the book as an e-book.

I actually wish they could have a regular one button "Buy this as an e-book" button with a follow on message that said sorry it's not available we'll notify the publisher of the demand. I understand they can't do this without seriously upsetting customers but it would be very powerful to show publishers how many actual sales they lost and how the $ value keeps rising.

Hmmm... maybe they could add a button that says "Add to my nonDRM ePUB Wish List" and they could track how many sales Amazon is losing.
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Old 08-14-2008, 10:02 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rixte View Post
Also - does Amazon have an exclusive on many books at all? Basically everything I've ever seen there, I've also seen on one or more of the other ebook vendor sites. Amazon's real edge continues to be their pricing
Yes this is a vast majority of the case, but their are some exceptions.
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It seems Amazon is going back and digitizing some older but popular titles.

This is unfortunate as I am very interested in 2 of the title I mentioned.

Also there are a good amount of eBook that are in PDF. Until recently they where not accessible to other eReaders. SONY's FW release was an excellent move since it greatly extended the PRS-505 libary.
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Old 08-14-2008, 10:09 AM   #10
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It would be interesting to know what proportion of the Kindle books come from publishers, rather than being "self-published". Is there any way to ascertain this?
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Old 08-14-2008, 10:27 AM   #11
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It would be interesting to know what proportion of the Kindle books come from publishers, rather than being "self-published". Is there any way to ascertain this?
I only know the answer to this anecdotally - about once a week I pull up the Kindle books section for Sci Fi, Fantasy and Mystery and look at what's new. The Sci Fi section seems to have the largest number of books that are easy to recognize as self-published (from the lack of a cover to the book info). Every now and then you get a spate of books by an author, but mostly it's onesie-twosie.

And here's the thing about DRM and ePub - while I care somewhat about DRM, I also understand the WHY of it, and as long as DRM'd books are cheapish and widely available, I won't kick up too much.

E-Pub? I don't care at all. It's like Blu-Ray versus whatever, BetaMax vs VHS. Just pick a standard, I don't care which one (as long as it's not PDF), and move on.
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Old 08-14-2008, 11:09 AM   #12
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What do you have against PDF. Before I got my Kindle I used to read many books off my Macbook in PDF. I find it very nice to look at. Is it hard to convert?
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Old 08-14-2008, 11:32 AM   #13
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What do you have against PDF. Before I got my Kindle I used to read many books off my Macbook in PDF. I find it very nice to look at. Is it hard to convert?
PDF was never intended to be an e-Book format and has all sorts of problems when used as one. The main ones are:

1. It's a representation of a specifically-sized page, and is difficult to display on small pages. In particular, PDF files formatted for A4/US Letter sized pages don't display at all well on small screens such as those used by the Kindle, Sony, Gen3, etc.

2. A PDF file contains no "textual" information - it doesn't know about paragraphs, sentences, or even words. All that's in the file are instructions of the level "display a letter 'A' at coordinates (x,y) on the page". This makes it difficult to convert to other formats, especially when the page layout is complex.

For these reasons, PDF is best avoided as an eBook format unless it's a book which has been specifically formatted for the screen size of the device on which it's being read.
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Old 08-14-2008, 11:35 AM   #14
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I actually wish they could have a regular one button "Buy this as an e-book" button with a follow on message that said sorry it's not available we'll notify the publisher of the demand..
Actually, they do now have a button for "tell the publisher I'd like to read this on the Kindle". Not quite what you wanted, but just as effective (and not as offensive) if you also refrain from purchasing the book in paper format.

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E-Pub? I don't care at all. It's like Blu-Ray versus whatever, BetaMax vs VHS. Just pick a standard, I don't care which one (as long as it's not PDF), and move on.
The only problem is that as soon as HD-DVD (the whatever part of the "vs. Sony" battle) lost, prices went up on all Blu-Ray disks and deep discount sales pretty much stopped. With Betamax - Sony lost and prices dropped fairly quickly. If history is any guide, having Sony "win" will simply keep prices high (just as they are in the Blu-Ray and PS3 arenas). So long as competition exists, sale pricing should help some - but there is a big difference in competition between stores with a single format and competition between stores where the end user is semi-locked in after a hardware purchase (ie: Best Buy vs. Circuit City sales as opposed to HD-DVD vs Blu-Ray price wars).
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Old 08-14-2008, 11:37 AM   #15
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Personally, I'm not cool with the suggestion that everything that isn't a "best-seller" is "filler." That just seems to unilaterally insult a lot of good books and good writers in the Kindle store.
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