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Posts Tagged ‘ereader’

Why an iPad Mini would shake up more than just the tablet world. Look out e-readers…

July 6, 2012 1 comment

It almost seems like a foregone conclusion. According to most reports, Apple is gearing up to launch a smaller form factor iPad in the fall, likely October, and likely at the same time they announce the iPhone 5.* And while Steve Jobs adamantly decried the smaller size, because of what’s occurred over the past year-plus in the e-reader and tablet market, Apple is doing the right thing.

* As a techie geek and Apple fan at heart, that keynote will be a must-watch-blogcast for me…seriously, these two products? Drool…

Google just announced what looks to be the 7″ tablet to beat, the Nexus 7, with Android ICS, strong processor, and perhaps most importantly, a Kindle Fire-like price point. So now, the same $199 can buy a full-fledged tablet that can easily have the Kindle app loaded for the full Kindle reading experience, plus a Nook app, a Kobo app, and so on. And while Google usually puts out the Nexus hardware as almost a test bed for manufacturers to see/copy, this one might stick.

So along comes Apple, the heavyweight in the room. No one has come close to matching the iPad success. Yes, some hardware compares well, and you can go on and on about mini USB ports, SD card slots, “open systems”, and all that, but it doesn’t change the fact that the iPad combined with iOS just works. And it sells. Even at a higher price point. An iPad Mini, and I’m going to guess it hits at $299 (because (a) Apple doesn’t want to play in the bargain bin pricing neighborhood, and (b) they know they can get it), would shake up the tablet world once again. But I believe it will do more than that, and that this is the first shot across the bow to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and even Kobo (who is becoming more aggressive ,and I feel is a very viable 4th distributor).

An iPad Mini will be a very comparable, and better alternative to the Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet (again, like an Android tablet, the various e-reader apps can be loaded), and I think Apple is gearing up to throw some weight, effort, and money behind improving the iBookstore experience. By having their own 7″ (looks like 7.85″, but let’s not quibble…) form factor tablet, with the absurdly easy to use and reliable iOS, they have the perfect platform to distribute ebooks. And I have a feeling that will be part of the keynote in the fall. The iBookstore lags behind the Kindle store (and even behind the Nook store, which is saying something) in terms of ease of search, marketing, exposure, and the like. It’s just not easy to use, which goes against everything Steve Jobs, et al., pushed for.

With the technology, marketing savvy, and maybe most importantly over 100 million existing iTunes customers with credit cards on file, I feel Apple, if they wanted to, could come in and change the ebook game. And this might be the time. And I for one am looking forward to Apple getting off their butts and making iBooks more successful.

Questions: would you buy an iPad Mini? If you have an iPad, would this be a second purchase for the household?

P.S. Apple haters, you’ll never convince me…

In celebration of the new Nook, join me in promoting fellow authors

June 2, 2011 24 comments

I was lying in bed last night (no worries, this blog post isn’t going there) reading Game 7: Dead Ball by Allen Schatz on my Nook Classic (tip: go buy that book). As I swiped my finger from right to left on the awesome little color nav screen, I realized I really love my Nook. And I feel for it. It’s like the forgotten middle sister to the older, more experienced Kindle, and the younger, flashier iPad.

I’m not a button kinda guy (see aforementioned finger swipe), which explains why I don’t have a Kindle…not a fan of that circa-2004 cellphone keyboard it sports. But I also don’t want to read on backlit LCDs, since for the past couple of years I’ve read books on my iPhone, and I’ll probably go blind from the (a) strain in sunlight, or (b) glare at night. So when I got my Nook (again, not the Color backlit one), ostensibly for a giveaway, I fell in love with it (my apologies to the person who may have won it in the never-kicked-off contest I planned to have).

But then it dawned on me last night…even though I use a Nook, and love it, it’s still that middle sister, even in my own marketing efforts. If I send a tweet about my novel (shameless plug & links: Gabriel’s Redemption scifi-adventure just $2.99 for Nook & Kindle), I invariably will send the Kindle one. Why? Market leader, of course – if I only have one sales message to send, it’s a Kindle message. Makes perfect business sense. But then I look at my sad Nook, staring back at me with its plaintive eyes (OK, color nav screen), and I feel like I’m cheating on that middle sister.

So here’s the deal. I’m gonna single-handedly vault the Nook into the number one spot for ereaders. Okay, that’s absurdly optimistic. I can’t even get my novel into the Top 10,000 on Kindle. I’ll start smaller. Starting tomorrow (Friday), and in celebration of the new Nook Simple Touch reader that is now available for purchase (man, that’s an awesome piece of tech), I’m going to throw out a hashtag and promote fellow authors’ ebooks on the Nook every Friday. I’d love it if you joined in. It will be the oh-so-creative hashtag #nookfriday.

Promote your novels and shorts, promote your friends…hell, promote a $38 ebook about King Arthur. Doesn’t matter. If you see a tweet from someone promoting a Nook book, even if it’s not your cup of tea, retweet it if you like…perhaps one of your Twitter followers enjoys that type of tea.

With the new Nook shipping next week, I do foresee a jump, if even a small one, in market share for Barnes & Noble…at least until Amazon catches up. So I think it’s an excellent time to start getting the word out on my novel, as well as others, that can find a home on a reader’s Nook.

Whaddya say…are you in?

 

Update: My current sales rank (June 2) for Gabriel’s Redemption in PubIt for BN is 342,782 (stellar, I know). We’ll see if the needle moves at all…

Fellow ebook authors – what platform sells best for you?

April 13, 2011 21 comments

It’s now been officially two full months since Gabriel’s Redemption has hit the ‘bookshelves’ of the major ebook distributors. I can honestly say I’m quite pleased with the sales; how could I not be? Three months ago I didn’t even have an ebook, just a collection of Scrivener scenes lumped into a manuscript that was undergoing some massive editing. And now, approaching 100 books sold, for a debut author? I’m thrilled. Rich? No. Satisfied so many people showed an interest in my work, and have been kind enough to leave some fantastic reviews? Absolutely.

But in looking (obsessing, perhaps) over the daily sales numbers in Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords (where in addition to direct to Smashwords customers, the novel is distributed to Borders/Kobo, iBooks, and Diesel), I noticed a very significant trend in sales. Amazon was cleaning the others’ clocks. I thought about it, trying to figure out why, and came up with a few possible reasons:

  • Public perception – ask anyone to name an ereader; you’ll hear Kindle, then Nook, then, huh? But Kindle will always be first. Whether it’s because of Joe Konrath, or Amanda Hocking, etc. or not, Kindle seems to hold the most mind share. But of course that leads into market share.
  • Market share – at last check, depending on what site you land on when you Google ‘ereader market share’, Kindle led the way with around half of the ereader market. Barnes & Noble recently stated they have 25% of ereader sales, though they backed it up with little to no proof. However, those are probably pretty good indications of where the market stands.*

*I’m not sure if the iPad has yet swept up the ereading public, but it’s certainly on its way…however, since I’ve sold a grand total of zero through iBooks I can’t even factor that in.

  • Me – Yes, me. My blog shows Amazon first, most tweets will have an Amazon link, and any time I’m only able to list one outlet to purchase the novel, I invariably list Amazon. Why? Probably because of the first two reasons. And the irony behind that is, I own a Kobo, a Nook, I’ve ordered an iPad, and there are four iPhones in my household. Not a Kindle to be found…

Looking at the numbers, I’m seeing around a 10-1 ratio of Kindle to Nook sales for Gabriel’s Redemption. Smashwords has a few sales, mostly when I do a promo code, but nothing consistent. So I sit and watch the KDP page, click refresh, and hold my breath, hoping the number goes up by one.

The question is – which platform sells for you? Do you see a significant difference in your ebook sales between Kindle and Nook? Which way, and why do you think that is? Any genre reason? Questions, questions…please help with answers, I can’t bear to keep clicking refresh…

Give away Kindles? Not yet, I say…

March 4, 2011 3 comments

I just read a very interesting article on CNN.com by Amy Gahran on the theory that Amazon should (or may even be planning to) give away the Kindle to spur interest and sales in e-books themselves. While that’s a very bold theory, and as a self-publisher of e-books myself, one that I’d love to see happen (imagine the explosion in e-book downloads if the device was free?), I see a number of challenges to that theory…at least at the present time.

The “give away the razor, sell them the blades” philosophy of King Gillette has been a business case study classic for decades. So why not apply it to the Kindle? I don’t see it happening just yet, because:

  • Amazon, and Jeff Bezos, are making a boatload of money selling the absurdly-popular devices.
  • The base Kindle dropped to $139 last year, went right through the Christmas season with nary an additional price drop or promotion, and knocked off Harry Potter 7 as the highest selling item at Amazon.com all-time.
  • Apple seems to be doing just fine with their iTunes business model of selling both the device (iPod) and content (songs), and have for years…and I don’t see Steve Jobs deciding to give away an iPod model anytime soon.

There are some great statistics in the piece, such as the Kindle holding 47% market share (destroying Nook and Sony at 4% and 5% respectively), the average e-reader owner consumes nearly half of his or her reading in digital form, and the fact that the market for e-books is expected to triple in the next four years.

But the bottom line is, the model is working, Amazon is cleaning up on Kindle sales, the market is exploding, and just 7% of readers own an e-reader device. That, in my opinion, goes back to my college Microeconomics 101, the law of supply and demand. With a high demand and low to flat supply, prices go up. With a high supply and low to flat demand, prices drop. And with this e-book market expanding exponentially, and the demand going through the roof, why suddenly drop the price?

My suggestion, Mr. Bezos, if I may get up on a parent soap box? If you’re considering giving away Kindles, start with the schools. Make e-readers available to children who want to read, and as they grow up, they’ll become customers, and fans, for life. And maybe, with a little genuine adolescent interest in books again, we’ll just see some US reading and writing test scores start to climb.

What are your thoughts?

Touching the future of reading – ebooks on Kindle, Nook, iPad

February 28, 2011 17 comments

This past weekend, I promised myself I’d sit down, shut out all distractions, and put together a rough outline for Book 2 of the Evan Gabriel trilogy (yes, it’s nearly official – Gabriel’s Redemption will be the first book in a science fiction/space opera trilogy…no better way to get noticed and have validity as a new author than to have more than one novel for sale, or at least in the pipeline). I packed up the trusty MacBook Air, iPhone, notepad, and gift cards, and headed to my local Barnes & Noble.

Ran into a problem…after ordering my latte (non-fat milk, no whipped cream, of course…I’m still feeling my hibernation weight) and sitting down, I found myself sitting in front of this sign for the new Color Nook…and I got distracted. I looked around the cafe area, and saw a few people holding e-readers. I decided to take a quick walk around the store, just out of curiosity’s sake. Know what I found? Something you never would have seen a couple of years, or even one year, ago. I counted…approximately one-third of the people reading in the cafe or wandering around the store shopping were carrying an e-reader. Some were reading, some were scoping out books to buy, instantly on their ereader. You know what? The ebook revolution is here…and if you’re a self-published author, or struggling-to-get-published one, you need to jump on this bandwagon right now.

Here are some amazing, and possibly sobering (although I find them exciting) statistics:

  • Barnes & Noble’s online store (bn.com) sold more ebooks in 2010 than paper.
  • Amazon.com ebook sales passed paper earlier in the year.
  • The Kindle 3 (latest) is the best-selling item in Amazon’s history, surpassing the 7th Harry Potter book.
  • Barnes & Noble sold 1 million ebooks on Christmas Day alone.
  • Sales of ereaders (Kindle, Nook, Sony, Kobo, et al) are expected to grow from 15 million in 2010 to 60 million in 2015
  • Ebook sales in the US are expected to grow from $1 billion in 2010 to $2.8 billion in 2015

None of these statistics are truly factoring in the explosive growth of the tablet computer segment (iPad, Galaxy, Xoom, PlayBook), which are not dedicated ereaders, but more of a hybrid between smartphone and laptop. However as that market continues to rapidly expand, more and more consumers will use them as ereaders, even further increasing the statistics above. Oh, and of course, how many millions use their iPhone/Android phones as books? I know I do.

Speaking of tablets, in two days Apple will announce the iPad 2, which is expected to be thinner and lighter, making it even more practical as an ereader. Apple isn’t stopping there – even though there is some controversy with their iBooks store, never count them out of attempting to dominate a market segment.

I always thought when I was young that to be successful, I needed to see my novel in print, on a bookshelf, in a real bookstore. Otherwise, no one would take me seriously, and no one would end up buying my book, and no one would read the stories I had to tell. I don’t feel that way any longer. It’s never been a better time to be a writer! I can’t emphasize that statement enough.

Oh, and that thing about seeing my book in the bookstore? Done.

P.S. That is NOT Photoshopped – the Nook demo person suggested I download an ebook to try out the reader and its features, on the store’s dime, so what did I decide to download? You guessed it…and I left it there for other shoppers to see…