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Old 08-06-2008, 01:42 AM   #1
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Kindle ... Or Is It Just Kindling?

Wired has an article questioning whether there is a market for the Kindle:

Quote:
So, all things considered, how many Kindles does that work out to? Two million? One million? Five hundred thousand?
Jeff Bezos surely did a market-sizing exercise or two of his own before flying off the handle in excitement over e-readers, and he must have seen something more than a few hundred million in revenue (a mere rounding error to the company's $14.8 billion annual take) worth getting carried away over.
I think the author is totally missing the point:

Eventually the market for the Kindle (or any other ebook) is as big (or small) as the p-book market itself.

And for Amazon I think the Kindle is not so much about money and market potential, it is about vision, about (re)building the foundations of the publishing business.

Bezos cannot sit around waiting for the p-book market to stagnate; his choice is clearly to be an agent of change.

That is... to Kindle.

What do you think?

Last edited by BKeeper; 08-06-2008 at 01:48 AM.
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Old 08-06-2008, 12:39 PM   #2
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Read the article. Took issue with a lot of it.

"The Kindle is not going to make a reader out of a nonreader. Few will say, 'Gee, reading books and magazines was prohibitively difficult before, but now that there's a $359 electronic reader available, I'm going to start!'"

I was one of those types that used to read a lot. However, because it was difficult for me to bring along a good sized book with me everywhere I went, I fell out of the habit. If I took one book with me as much as possible, then I would finish it in the first 30 minutes of my plane flight, and I would then either have to lug around a finished book with me for the remainder of my trip, or leave it lying around for someone else. At $30 for most of the hardbacks ... that's a lot of money to just toss away every few weeks.

What the Kindle did for me was kickstart an otherwise moribund reading habit. Now, it is always with me, and that means I always have a new book to start when I finish the current one ... and no dead weight to carry around on trips.

I also take issue with his cut off of $100,000 in income before someone will spend $360 on a ebook reader. So, that would mean that all those teenagers sporting iPods are making at least $50,000 a year?? Sure ... sure .... sure.

I know a number of people (and I am one of them) who love books enough that they would spend almost every penny they earned on them. I would rather read a book than go to a movie. Let's see ... with popcorn and a soda ... it's at least $20 to go to the movie theater. If I went to the movies as often as I read a book, I would be spending roughly $1000 a year going to the movies. Since I prefer to read ... I'm saving money already ... even considering the cost of the Kindle.

The author is yet another one of those writers who only takes his analysis as far as needed to make his point. Never mind that on further reflection his analysis just doesn't make sense.
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Old 08-06-2008, 01:30 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BKeeper View Post
Wired has an article questioning whether there is a market for the Kindle:

I think the author is totally missing the point:

Eventually the market for the kindle (or any other ebook) is as big (or small) as the pbook market itself.

And for Amazon I think the kindle is not so much about money and market potential, it is about vision, about (re)building the foundations of the publishing business.

Bezos cannot sit around waiting for the pbook market to stagnate, his choice is clearly to be an agent of change.

That is... to Kindle.

what do you think?
Obviously, some of the companies that have introduced ereaders, or plan to introduce ereaders within the next 6 months, have completed some market research. They have decided that there is a market that justifies the development dollars to bring an ereader product to market. The validity and makeup of this forum also supports the theory that there is a wide and varied market available.

I agree that non-readers will not suddenly read because of ereaders, except perhaps for senior citizens and retirees who are now in a different place in their lives where they have more available time. I believe that this might, infact, become a very large market. Older people often have discretionary income that allows them to 1)fork out $350for an ereader and 2)fund ongoing ebook purchases.

The ease with which ebooks can be purchase has to apeal to a wide range of folk. Maybe not young people at this stage, but certainly for very busy people who travel a lot and for older people who have a more isolated lifestyle.

Would love to know what the real numbers are, but seems like we're only going to see speculation for the time being.

cheers
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Old 08-06-2008, 01:54 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by RickyMaveety View Post
I also take issue with his cut off of $100,000 in income before someone will spend $360 on a ebook reader. So, that would mean that all those teenagers sporting iPods are making at least $50,000 a year?? Sure ... sure .... sure.
My thoughts exactly. Tell that to all the people who buy an Xbox...
people pay $4 for a coffee... I'd rather buy a book.

The guy even says that most "readers" won't buy it because they are not into tech. Forgetting that you don't even need a computer to use a kindle.

Wired, of all mags, Wired....

With e-ink, I read much much more simply because I can always have my books with me, and I think many people will start reading more as well.
Plus the convenience of the Kindle facilitates impulse purchase, while at the same time lets you read the first chapter of any book.

To me the kindle keeps getting better and better....
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Old 08-06-2008, 02:16 PM   #5
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Tried to post my comment on the site (essentially the same one I posted here), but the site would not take the comment.

Yet another reason I think I'll forgo reading Wired. It doesn't sound as though the people writing for the magazine know very much about tech, and they can't even get their site to work properly.
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Old 08-06-2008, 02:29 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by BKeeper View Post
Eventually the market for the kindle (or any other ebook) is as big (or small) as the pbook market itself.

And for Amazon I think the kindle is not so much about money and market potential, it is about vision, about (re)building the foundations of the publishing business.

Bezos cannot sit around waiting for the pbook market to stagnate, his choice is clearly to be an agent of change.
The big benefit of being an agent of change is staking out your position in the new market. I agree that ebooks will mostly supplant pbooks in the not-too-distant future and Amazon has a good chance of dominating that market by getting in early and shaping it. Many people look at the current devices and are skeptical, but let's not forget that they are going to evolve rapidly. Screens will get better as well as cheaper. It may not be e-ink. It could be some other technology as long as it's readable, light and low-power. With better screens, the devices will be able to handle a wider variety of applications (like the InfoPad concept). There will be more devices to choose from. Eventually people will be using them for work & school as well as for fun. When every kid is reading their textbooks on a device, we'll have a generation of people for whom reading on a screen is more normal than reading on paper.

Sure, right now it's early adopters and book lovers who are interested rather than the mass market, but that's still not too shabby. I wouldn't be quick to dismiss it. I bought a lot of books before, but I go through books even faster now and, probably more importantly, I'm buying almost all of them from Amazon. I used to buy from them some of the time but most of my books were bought elsewhere so I could have them quickly rather than waiting a couple of days. I'm a Prime member, but I really am that impatient. I used Amazon mostly for buying gifts. Now I'm on their site a few times a week. If a lot of us Kindle-owners are doing that, it's way more sales opportunities than just books. I admit I've gone there browsing books a few times and bought something else on impulse. I've already made a couple Kindle converts, too, and they read at least as much as I do. If they can keep lowering the price of the Kindle, they'll keep picking up more customers.
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Old 08-06-2008, 02:37 PM   #7
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No matter what the naysayers say, I think the ebook revolution is coming. I'm betting my bookshelf on it - planning to scan most of my pbooks and then trash them. I'm on the ebandwagon from now on, regardless of what some ridiculous so-called expert says about the future of ereading. So there!

Does the general public even pay attention to things like the article?
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Old 08-06-2008, 03:17 PM   #8
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eReader does not mean electronic reader. eReader is a program for viewing eReader format eBooks. Please do not use the term eReader in such a way that does not refer to either the software or the format.
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Old 08-06-2008, 03:30 PM   #9
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Wired, of all mags, Wired....
You'd think, but a lot of geeks (obviously not those who hang out here at MR) are more video- and game-oriented than book-oriented, and they don't understand why someone would buy a dedicated device that they can't play WoW or watch videos on or that isn't even in color.

And the reverse is true, which those not familiar with e-books might find hard to believe: when I show people my Cybook, even my family members who look upon my rather low-level geekitude with bewildered tolerance, are interested in it. Even my sister and BIL, who are extremely frugal and don't really buy pricey gadgets (they have a five-year-old computer they inherited from their daughter) thought the price was fair because of the ability to store lots of books and the availability of free public domain works, which represent the vast majority of the books on my device. But then, they are big readers to start with. I think that's the important distinction. Readers will be interested in reading gadgets, and gadget geeks who are not readers will not.
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Old 08-06-2008, 03:33 PM   #10
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Interesting discussion. I'm one of those older retired people who love to read. My wife, who is disabled with Parkinson's, is also an avid reader of sci fi. I've mentioned in other posts the advantages for her that the Kindle brings to someone who has trouble holding a book and turning pages. She loves her Kindle.

I just bought another one for myself. Physically limited she may be but just try to separate her from her Kindle!

My reading habits have been forced to adapt to my current job as her caregiver so I can only read between household chores, usually a few paragraphs at a time. The Kindle will be great for this and also for those waits in doctor's offices.

I see Amazon's core business as selling books, not Kindles. The Kindle is a way to generate book sales and to keep most of those sales in house. Yes. I do download from other sources, such as Baen and The Gutenberg Project, but most of my purchases are from Amazon.

We certainly don't make $100,000 per year but books are a priority with us so we make do. We probably buy more books now (Damn Whispernet! ) but save some $$ due to the generally lower prices compared to pbooks.

I think BKeeper's observations regarding Bezos' motivations are right on target. I like to watch the promo of the Charlie Rose interview of Bezos on the Amazon Kindle site- I'm a sucker for a CEO who is passionate about his company and its relevance to our culture.

Last edited by cush; 08-06-2008 at 03:35 PM. Reason: typos
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Old 08-06-2008, 03:44 PM   #11
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Interesting discussion. I'm one of those older retired people who love to read. My wife, who is disabled with Parkinson's, is also an avid reader of sci fi. I've mentioned in other posts the advantages for her that the Kindle brings to someone who has trouble holding a book and turning pages. She loves her Kindle.

I just bought another one for myself. Physically limited she may be but just try to separate her from her Kindle!

My reading habits have been forced to adapt to my current job as her caregiver so I can only read between household chores, usually a few paragraphs at a time. The Kindle will be great for this and also for those waits in doctor's offices.

I see Amazon's core business as selling books, not Kindles. The Kindle is a way to generate book sales and to keep most of those sales in house. Yes. I do download from other sources, such as Baen and The Gutenberg Project, but most of my purchases are from Amazon.

We certainly don't make $100,000 per year but books are a priority with us so we make do. We probably buy more books now (Damn Whispernet! ) but save some $$ due to the generally lower prices compared to pbooks.

I think BKeeper's observations regarding Bezos' motivations are right on target. I like to watch the promo of the Charlie Rose interview of Bezos on the Amazon Kindle site- I'm a sucker for a CEO who is passionate about his company and its relevance to our culture.
Just dead on and well thought out.
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Old 08-06-2008, 03:53 PM   #12
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No matter what the naysayers say, I think the ebook revolution is coming. I'm betting my bookshelf on it - planning to scan most of my pbooks and then trash them. I'm on the ebandwagon from now on, regardless of what some ridiculous so-called expert says about the future of ereading. So there!

Does the general public even pay attention to things like the article?
Oh, please don;t "trash" your p-books! If your local library won't take them, hospices, hospitals, Salvation Army, homeless centers, lots of places can use them.

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Old 08-06-2008, 03:54 PM   #13
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eReader does not mean electronic reader. eReader is a program for viewing eReader format eBooks. Please do not use the term eReader in such a way that does not refer to either the software or the format.

Come on!!

What would you call someone who reads electronic books? Someone who, using a personal electronic device, reads digitized books? I don't think so.

Yes eReader is software. As far as I'm concerned, an ereader is 'Someone who etc, etc'. Especially on a forum like this. Dixie Gal wrote "ereader", not eReader, you know. And, but the way just why should we not "...use the term eReader in such a way that does not refer to either the software or the format." Does it personally disturb you or is this Forum policy? We're all friends here, are we not?
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Old 08-06-2008, 04:37 PM   #14
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Jon sweetie, I said "ereading."
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Old 08-06-2008, 05:01 PM   #15
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Jon sweetie, I said "ereading."
I'm gonna cry about this, can you get me a kleenex, er tissue while I xerox, er photcopy my printout of this message, then I'm going to google, er search the web to see what it says about ereader.

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