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From Today's NYT...discuss
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LLB



Joined: 21 Mar 2007
Posts: 869
Location: Dallas, Texas

PostPosted: Mon Jun 02, 2008 9:24 pm    Post subject: From Today's NYT...discuss Reply with quote

Quote:
Is the electronic book approaching the tipping point?

Kevin P. Casey for The New York Times

The Kindle can download books.

That topic both energized and unnerved people attending BookExpo America, the publishing and bookselling industryís annual trade show, which ended at the convention center here on Sunday.

Much of the talk was focused on the Kindle, Amazonís electronic reader, which has gained widespread acclaim for its ease of use. Jeffrey P. Bezos, the founder and chief executive of Amazon, spent much of a packed session on Friday evangelizing about the Kindle, which he said already accounts for 6 percent of his companyís unit sales of books that are available in both paper and electronic formats.

But excitement about the Kindle, which was introduced in November, also worries some publishing executives, who fear Amazonís still-growing power as a bookseller. Those executives note that Amazon currently sells most of its Kindle books to customers for a price well below what it pays publishers, and they anticipate that it will not be long before Amazon begins using the Kindleís popularity as a lever to demand that publishers cut prices.


I'd wondered about this. Prior to the Kindle, a hardcover book that cost $25 in print format was not all that much cheaper in e-book format. Why, I wondered, when there was no cost of production, no material used - no paper, no ink - and no cost of distribution.

I'd simply assumed that print publishers reacted as record companies did when digitalized music came into being. That they panicked and sought the loss of control of product with high pricing. Eventually, though, with iTunes and the like, that's beginning to change.

I just got my Kindle over the weekend for my birthday, btw, and I love it. I immediately downloaded a hardcover non-fiction book by political writer Matt Taibii, and three romances, one of which I'm reading for review right now. The hardcover sells for $24.95, I think, and I paid $9.99. Is that truly a loss leader for Amazon? It's hard to imagine, then, how they also make money given their free shipping on orders of more than $25, particularly as the profit margin on many of the items they sell has to be pretty small. Paperbacks are pretty cheap to begin with, comparatively speaking, and I think bookstores make it up in hardcover sales. IIRC, profits at bookstores in terms of books themselves come from hardcovers, not paperbacks, because the margin is something like 40%.

If a bookstore makes a 40% profit on an $8.00 item, the cost of a paperback, they earn a little more than $3.00. That same 40% on a $25 hardcover is $10.00. I NEVER order from Amazon unless my list has grown enough so that I hit the $25 dollar mark (in order to take advantage of the free shipping), and I imagine most of you do likewise.

Obviously they deal in volume, so it all adds up, but I think their innovations - the free shipping, the Kindle - are a readers' best friend. And I don't foresee Amazon asserting the type of pressure on publishers as, say, WalMart is known to do, in terms of actual book CONTENT.

I go back to my original theory: That Amazon will force book publishers into the 21st century, as iTunes has done with record companies. The rules are different with content now, and 20th century business models don't apply in some industries. I hope the reader benefits in the long run.

Of the five books I wanted to buy on Kindle, four were available; Fareed Zakaria's newest, alas, was not.
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Tinabelle



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 873
Location: SE Wisconsin

PostPosted: Mon Jun 02, 2008 11:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Laurie - I have been anxious to hear how you like your Kindle since you mentioned in an earlier post that you were getting one for your birthday. Very Happy
I have had mine for almost a month and I absolutely LOVE it.

I have found, too, that most of the books I have wanted to buy have been available in a Kindle Edition. It would be wonderful if every title were available in that format. I am not sure exactly why some books are available and others are not. From what I understand, it is the publisher that decides whether or not to make the book available in an electronic format, but I don't know if that is truly the case.

I agree that things are changing very quickly in the world of technology and do see some parallels between the music download industry and the ebook. Change is difficult. I cannot see Amazon trying to control what gets published, but I do think that they can have some impact on price as more people get into electronic books. I definitely believe that publishers and authors deserve a fair price for their product, but I do feel that an electronic version should be priced lower than a print version. As you said, there are no printing costs, no paper cost, no production costs, no transportation costs, no storage/warehousing costs, etc.

All I know is that I love reading on my Kindle and hope that eventually all books will be available in that format at a reasonable price.
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Elizabeth Rolls



Joined: 26 Mar 2007
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Location: Australia

PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2008 3:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
If a bookstore makes a 40% profit on an $8.00 item, the cost of a paperback, they earn a little more than $3.00. That same 40% on a $25 hardcover is $10.00. I NEVER order from Amazon unless my list has grown enough so that I hit the $25 dollar mark (in order to take advantage of the free shipping), and I imagine most of you do likewise.


Not down here, Laurie. Books in Australia are fairly expensive. It is nearly always cheaper for me to order from Amazon AND pay the shipping than to buy here. I bought a couple of Nora Roberts here recently and they were 19.99 each. A while back I b*tched here at AAR about a Jo Beverley costing me nearly 20.00. Even before the AU$ rose against the US$ it was a touch cheaper for me to buy at Amazon and pay shipping. Now with the exchange rate nearly dollar for dollar it's even better.
I do still buy books here because I love bookshops and love leaving with a great big pile of goodies. But if I can't find what I want, or I haven't got time to do a 70k round trip into town, it's off to Amazon I go.
I had to laugh at Nora Roberts recently - in her Key trilogy, one of the men, Jordan, says to his beloved when he sees the books all over her apartment - "Jeez, Dana - you need treatment!" Boy could I relate to that! Suspect my DH and Jordan would have quite a conversation. :oops:

How big is the Kindle, Laurie? So far I haven't been interested in ebooks, but my mind is open. It's just that I love books. Physically as well as what's in them.

Elizabeth
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dick



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 2478

PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2008 9:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm with more or less with E. Rolls on the matter of e-books. If it doesn't have cover with turnable pages, it's just not a book, in my thinking. Besides, print on a screen really bothers my eyes. When e-publishing first began, I bought a download. I managed to read about 20 pages before my eyes said, "No more, please." I'd rather pay the higher price for the book in standard print.
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Tinabelle



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 873
Location: SE Wisconsin

PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2008 9:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Elizabeth Rolls wrote:

How big is the Kindle, Laurie? So far I haven't been interested in ebooks, but my mind is open. It's just that I love books. Physically as well as what's in them.


I'm not Laurie but I can answer your question. Very Happy The Kindle measures approx. 5.5" x 7.5" and is about .5" thick. It is very lightweight - less than a pound. Very comfortable to hold and so easy to read. I love it!

Unfortunately, the instant download to the Kindle currently does not work outside the US because it uses a cell phone network found only in the US. Sad I'm not sure if you can download to a computer and then transfer. Amazon has a lot of information about the Kindle on their website.
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Elaine S



Joined: 02 Apr 2007
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2008 9:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm with Dick on this. I use a computer all day at work and a laptop when travelling on business. Frankly my eyes just don't want to look at another computer at night or in bed when I do my comfort reading. I am not sure that "Eyes Over 40" will love Kindle. I, too, tried ebooks about 5-6 years ago and, in the end printed them off on paper to read them because looking at the screen was just too uncomfortable, literally and, perhaps, mentally. I am lucky to have a room in my house exclusively for my books. I suppose if storage were a problem (or I was at university and needed lots of books), then this might be the answer but I am happy enough with paper right now.
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MarianneM



Joined: 26 Mar 2007
Posts: 374
Location: Houston, Texas

PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2008 9:57 am    Post subject: Kindle vs. Paperbacks Reply with quote

Over the years, I've watched many times as paper printed books [either paperback or hardback] have been declared either dying out or dead. They're still here -- a lot of them, and there are good reasons for them to continue to be printed.

How much does a Kindle weigh, for instance? Or how much does any other brand of electronic book weigh? If this seems irrelevant to you, then you must still be young enough not to have weak, arthritic hands. There are a lot of people out here in literary-land who, like me, have weak, arthritic hands which find difficulty, and some pain, in holding heavy books --hands that pain us a little bit even when at rest, and even when holding nothing at all. At this point, in my 80th year, even my beloved hardbacks are uncomfortable to hold after an hour or so. And hardbacks, I imagine, don't weigh as much as Kindles. Paperbacks are the most comfortable books to hold and I hope and pray that they are still being printed for the rest of my life.

That question aside, how about ease of back-paging with an electronic book. When I read, I like to turn back the pages to refer to previous scenes. With print books, that's easily done. It's more difficult with electronic books, I suspect.

Lastly, paperbacks are easy to carry in my purse, which already weighs too much as it is. I understand that Amazon is reducing the price of Kindles because they aren't exactly selling like hotcakes, are they?

I'm glad that you younger folks are enjoying your Kindles, and that they seem to answer your needs, but there is another side to the story. The over 60 population in this country is growing, and we're going to be harder to convince.

MarianneM
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LLB



Joined: 21 Mar 2007
Posts: 869
Location: Dallas, Texas

PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2008 10:06 am    Post subject: Re: Kindle vs. Paperbacks Reply with quote

I'll address a number of the concerns, although being called "young folk" when I'm in my 40s is kind of funny. The Kindle weighs a lot less than my E-Bookwise, which I've loved to death. It comes in its own little case, which fits quite nicely in my purse, and a tremendous benefit of it for people who need large print is that it comes with six font sizes. My E-bookwise does the same, btw. My husband, who wore his first pair of glasses at nine months, suffers tremendously when reading. I showed him the large font, and now he's thinking of buying the Kindle.

I have always loved the printed book, but there comes a point when space becomes a factor. The wireless download ability is amazing, BUT I realized right after that, that unless a Kindle edition is ordered via the computer - as Elizabeth Rolls might do if she bought one - associates like AAR don't get a commission. Since I don't get a commission on the books I buy for myself, that's not a problem, but I can see at some point in the future that might impact sites like AAR that depend heavily on commissions from Amazon.

Both the E-bookwise and the Kindle offer bookmarking ability, and for somebody like me who is constantly shoving little pieces of paper into books to go back to pages or scenes, this is great. Right now, as a matter of fact, I'm reading an Elizabeth Rolls book from last year. Somehow I'd missed its initial release (even though its the sequel to a book by her that I'd really liked), and by the time I ordered it, it had to be special ordered, and then Amazon canceled it. But on Kindle it was there at a finger snap. Not so, though, with one of Jessica Bird's series titles that I'd been looking for. And none of the older Garwoods are available either. My guess is that publishers are going FORWARD but not BACKWARD yet in terms of publishing on Kindle.
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Margaret



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 879

PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2008 12:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
dick wrote:
I'm with more or less with E. Rolls on the matter of e-books. If it doesn't have cover with turnable pages, it's just not a book, in my thinking. Besides, print on a screen really bothers my eyes. When e-publishing first began, I bought a download. I managed to read about 20 pages before my eyes said, "No more, please." I'd rather pay the higher price for the book in standard print.


I've tried e-books on the computer and on a reader and I'm among those who just don't like them. Do they offer a left and right page format? I like pages too, the print is easier to read and start up cost is nil. Plus like i-pods, lap-tops, computers, dvd's, cell phones etc. e-book readers will always have a 'newer model with bonus features' being offered. There is already enough tech junk out there. I think my daughter has every version of Nintendo Gameboy--I think about 6---and some of them don't even play all formats of Nintendo games. I see the same thing for ebook readers.

I think the cost per book on an ebook reader is great, and for international customers who have to pay a lot $$$$ for each book + shipping. And no wait for release dates.
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LLB



Joined: 21 Mar 2007
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Location: Dallas, Texas

PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2008 2:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Margaret wrote:
Do they offer a left and right page format?


Both the E-Bookwise and Kindle can be used ambidextrously, if that's what you mean, although since you use a stylus w/the former, it's a little easier if you want to bookmark or something. But if it's simply reading, you can page ahead on either side of the screen, and on one side you can also page back.
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Tinabelle



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2008 3:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll weigh in on a couple of issues here. I am a proud owner of a Kindle for 1 month now, and I love it. It was a 60th birthday present to myself and I know I will get my money's worth out of it.

- For those of you wondering about the weight, it is very lightweight and weighs less than a paperback, about 10 ounces.

- Reading on the Kindle is very comfortable and easy. It is much less awkward than holding a paperback, IMHO. I have arthritis in my wrists, too, and find that holding a Kindle vs. a paperback is much easier on my wrists.

- As for ease on the eyes, the Kindle is NOT the same as reading on a computer. It does NOT use backlit technology like a computer but uses electronic ink so it looks and reads like a printed page. No eye-strain like you get on a computer.

- 6 Font sizes makes this a great device for those with poorer eyesight. My just 60 year-old eyes sometimes have a problem with small print in books/magazines. The ability to increase the font size is a great feature.

- the cost of the books is less than a paperback or new hardcover, even with discounts at places like B & N. I have found that most of the books I have wanted to purchase are available in Kindle editions and I expect this will continue to improve.

And Laurie, I am really sensitive to the commission that AAR gets from the sale of books on its website link. I thank you for putting the Kindle link on the site. I try to make all of my purchases from my computer so AAR benefits from the sale. I actually prefer shopping on Amazon via computer anyway. I so appreciate all you do to keep this site up and running. I'd be lost without it.

I am so thrilled to have made the leap to the electronic book community. I love books, too, and wasn't sure how I would like holding a device rather than a book. Because it is so comfortable to use, I don't miss the paper at all.
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Elizabeth Rolls



Joined: 26 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2008 6:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Right now, as a matter of fact, I'm reading an Elizabeth Rolls book from last year. Somehow I'd missed its initial release (even though its the sequel to a book by her that I'd really liked), and by the time I ordered it, it had to be special ordered, and then Amazon canceled it. But on Kindle it was there at a finger snap.


I am absolutely delighted that you are having so much fun with your Kindle, Laurie. Very Happy

I've been thinking about ebooks recently for the same sort of reason; trying to get books I missed. And of course, space. Even I am eventually going come to the point where there is nowhere to put even one more book. And I can see that there's a serious convenience factor when travelling.

But I'm not fond of reading on any sort of screen. I spend a large proportion of each day staring at words on a screen and it isn't how I want to relax. It's hard on the eyes too.

Elizabeth
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LLB



Joined: 21 Mar 2007
Posts: 869
Location: Dallas, Texas

PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2008 8:01 pm    Post subject: For me, a bigger problem Reply with quote

Elizabeth Rolls wrote:
But I'm not fond of reading on any sort of screen. I spend a large proportion of each day staring at words on a screen and it isn't how I want to relax. It's hard on the eyes too.
Elizabeth


As you might imagine, Elizabeth, I spend a lot of time looking at either my desktop or laptop computer, so I know about dry eye and eye strain. A bigger problem for me considering the issues I have with my hands and wrists as a result of all that time on a computer is discomfort in my wrists from holding even a paperback at times. The Kindle is lighter, and doesn't hurt my hands.
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Kayne



Joined: 31 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2008 8:23 pm    Post subject: Kindle Reply with quote

I want one a Kindle. They sound great. I probably won't get one until Christmas but they sound like the next great thing. Thanks for mentioning this. So now I have thought of a bunch of questions regarding the future of e-books.

Is anyone able to download books from their libraries yet?
Do you think books will not become out of print anymore?
Do you think readers will buy fewer books used as more e-books become available? If so, does that mean authors will earn more in book sales?
If I can eventually download books from my library instantly, why would I need to buy any?
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Mark



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 1353

PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2008 11:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Kindle, like the Sony Reader, uses e-ink technology that reflects outside light like a book (or more like a glossy magazine since there is glare at the wrong angle), not a glowing screen like most computers. I find my Reader very easy to read for hours, though the background is more grey than white.
When the Reader first came out there weren’t a lot of titles available, but that has steadily improved. Also, I see a lot of backlist titles being added on a regular basis, so I suspect the same will happen with the Kindle.
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