Thursday, May 19, 2011

Amazon: Kindle ebooks Outsell Printed Books

"Amazon has announced that it now sells more Kindle ebooks than all print books – that's hardcover and paperback combined – through the Amazon.com site. Introduced less than four years ago, the Kindle has quickly become Amazon's top selling product, and now digitised books for the reader have become more popular with its customers than their paper and ink fore-runners."  

Source.

31 Comments:

At 5/19/2011 5:37 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

well, if you think about it, it's a killer product.

cheaper, faster to get, easier to carry and store. what's not to like?

it was a really serious innovation.

 
At 5/19/2011 7:44 PM, Blogger Buddy R Pacifico said...

morganovich said...
"well, if you think about it, it's a killer product.

What is the cost of inventory for Amazon in e-books?

Zero, so they deploy financial resources to further their dominance in the e-retailing sector.

Future possible SAT question:

The razor is to razor blades

as

The Kindle is to _____.

 
At 5/19/2011 10:48 PM, Blogger randian said...

Ebooks would be more interesting to me if their DRM didn't effectively mean that the failure of, or malicious acts by, the seller revokes my access to the book I purchased. Future transfers to new hardware are also at issue; they could demand additional money to transfer at any time. Real books are mine forever.

Also, I find real books to cause less eyestrain than ebooks, and I can read them faster.

 
At 5/20/2011 1:11 AM, OpenID Sprewell said...

Eh, I've never understood the attraction of the kindle: who wants a crippled e-ink "tablet" that doesn't do most of the things that tablets do these days? Amazon is long overdue for a real tablet, they're rumored to be working on an Android tablet now. It's telling that Amazon doesn't release the sales figures for the Kindle itself, and estimates are that they sold less than half the 10+ million iPads that Apple sold last year. What's interesting about Amazon's approach is that they're distribution-agnostic: they've made Kindle software apps so that people can read their ebooks on any other computer they own, from PCs to Android tablets. That's what's driving their e-book sales noted in this post, not their silly reader hardware. Steve Jobs could learn a lesson from Bezos on this, instead of his maniacally proprietary approaches.

 
At 5/20/2011 1:11 AM, OpenID Sprewell said...

I agree with Randian about DRM, which is why when I bought my first audiobooks recently, I made sure to get a DRM-free version. As for eyestrain, I think I've read 3-5 paper books in the last 5 years: all my reading is done on my LCD monitor.

 
At 5/20/2011 6:46 AM, Blogger Ecclesiastes said...

Amazon isn't going to say how much of that Kindle volume was cannibalized from printed sales.

Regarding e-ink, those deriding it, a self selected group of technology aficionados, obviously don't spend any time trying to read their LCD screens outdoors.

Guys, carpenters and truck drivers can read too.

 
At 5/20/2011 9:39 AM, Blogger Alan said...

I like my Kindle a lot, especially for travel. But it's worth noting that many Kindle e-books are either free or extremely inexpensive. The really big story will be about people spending more for e-books than printed ones.

 
At 5/20/2011 1:37 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

i am inclined to agree about both DRM and preferring real books. i just do not like reading a kindle. i wish i did, but there's not much i can do about it.

regarding sprewell's point about amazon creating a "real" tablet, i think you are missing the point.

a real tablet has MUCH shorter batter life, more eyestrain from the screen, and is 5 times the price.

(i just bought a bunch of ipad2's to use as remote controls for my home audio system, they are NOT cheap)

the whole beauty of a kindle is that it is NOT a tablet.

give it a big processor and a color touch screen and you wouldn't get through a flight from SF to europe on one.

regarding this notion:

"Amazon isn't going to say how much of that Kindle volume was cannibalized from printed sales."

i think that's a flawed analysis. amazon makes more profit selling you an e-book than a real one. sure, the ASP is lower, but there's no book to buy, store, pack, and ship either.

it may cannibalize revenues, but it augments profits.

i know which i'd rather have.

 
At 5/20/2011 1:39 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

though, it occurs to me that most buyers do not think about DRM.

look at the people who have huge MP3 libraries, especially from itunes.

not only will the be obsolete in 5 years are new standards emerge (and not convertible as mp3 is already a lossy format), but if you buy from itunes, you have a processor limit on the number of times you can load the song.

5 devices from now, oops, you have to rebuy it.

that's pretty ugly.

 
At 5/20/2011 4:26 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"cheaper, faster to get, easier to carry and store. what's not to like/"...

Just one minor detail for me at least if one compares a Kindle to a paperback book, it won't work after getting wet...

Paperback book can be reclaimed sort of with a hair dryer, can a Kindle?

I don't know...

 
At 5/20/2011 4:32 PM, Blogger randian said...

It's not just DRM. Making backups is something ebook systems don't seem to have properly considered. In fact, they go out of their way to make it difficult. They assume you'll always get a copy from the mothership. I don't know about you, but relying on third parties is not, in my view, a sound data recovery scheme.

 
At 5/20/2011 6:04 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"They assume you'll always get a copy from the mothership. I don't know about you, but relying on third parties is not, in my view, a sound data recovery scheme."

You've got that right! In addition there's no guarantee that the new copy is identical to the original. You may be getting an "updated" copy, whether for better or for worse. The Ministry of Truth is now in control.

 
At 5/20/2011 8:58 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

What's interesting about Amazon's approach is that they're distribution-agnostic: they've made Kindle software apps so that people can read their ebooks on any other computer they own, from PCs to Android tablets.

Seems to be a very good strategy. I guess that Amazon learned from Apple's initial failures and did not make the same errors as the young Apple did. The problem with tablets is that they are a pain to read. What is needed is a tablet system that uses e-ink and can match or surpass the reading experience as the Kindle.

 
At 5/21/2011 4:52 AM, OpenID Sprewell said...

I admit I've never actually tried an e-ink display, it just looks outmoded from the pictures. I've never handled any of the tablets either, in fact, I still use an old cellphone that I bought for $8 without a contract. ;) I am looking at buying a Blackberry Playbook though, time to finally get on the mobile train one of these days. I've read people saying that the new high-res displays in tablets are as easy to read as e-ink, so I take their word for it.

 
At 5/21/2011 4:53 AM, OpenID Sprewell said...

Morganovich, an Ipad 2 will last for almost a week in normal use: how long does that flight last again? ;) The only reason you'd need the month-long life of the Kindle is if you were camping in the middle of nowhere for a month, hardly a common use. As for price, even the arguably overpriced Ipad is only 2-3 times the Kindle, not 5 times. The people who don't care about DRM also don't care about mp3 quality, so I doubt that bothers them either. The problem with DRM is that it sneaks up on people: they don't realize the problem till they reach its constraints, then they get very annoyed.

 
At 5/21/2011 7:15 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

The only reason you'd need the month-long life of the Kindle is if you were camping in the middle of nowhere for a month, hardly a common use.

This is not true. If you want to read a lot, and most readers do, you do not want to be recharging batteries every six or seven hours as you would have to with most tablets. I own a Kindle DX because I have a lot of books in PDF form and find its one week battery life great. But I have to tell you that for normal reading I like the 6" display Kindle a lot better because I can read for weeks without worry about recharging.

I think that you are speculating about an issue that you have little personal experience with.

 
At 5/21/2011 2:21 PM, OpenID Sprewell said...

Vange, I admitted I don't have much experience with using the different displays myself, but you're arguing instead against my point that the iPad 2's one-week battery life is plenty long enough. I don't need to experience that battery life subjectively, there's plenty of documented evidence for that, like the review I linked to. You may like not having to charge your Kindle for weeks, but I assure you most people aren't as lazy as you. ;) They may not want to charge every day, but charging their iPad 2 once a week is usually fine for most.

 
At 5/21/2011 3:34 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Vange, I admitted I don't have much experience with using the different displays myself, but you're arguing instead against my point that the iPad 2's one-week battery life is plenty long enough.

Sorry but you are way off. Apple says that the battery life is around eleven hours, not one-week. The screen is lit, which consumes power that is not consumed by the Kindle and its e-ink technology. The iPad is not suitable for most serious readers because of the glare and the short battery life. That will not change for quite some time.

 
At 5/21/2011 6:47 PM, OpenID Sprewell said...

Vange, the site that I linked to notes that the iPad 2 worked fine for 5 days of continuous use without a recharge, with 30% battery left after that. Apple's 10-hour figure is for continuous heavy video use, hardly typical usage. You should try reading sometime, you might learn something. ;)

 
At 5/21/2011 7:43 PM, Blogger OBloodyHell said...

I will NEVER, ever own a Kindle. If someone gave me one, I'd sell it on E-Bay.

> cheaper, faster to get, easier to carry and store. what's not to like?

a) $200 to replace lost Kindle. $5 to replace lost paperback

b) Risk of books becoming unbooks, quotes in text becoming unquotes.

Search on "1984 Kindle Controversy"

Note that the quotes of company spokesman don't say they were removing their capacity to change the contents of your Kindle arbitrarily and without your knowledge or permission -- they actually just said they were making it their policy to be more subtle about it.
====

I'm not sure if the Nook has this "capacity", but the future of "e-books" lies in non-proprietary systems without DRM attempts to hamper those with legitimate copies... because that's what DRM does -- punish the honest people.

Randian, there is certainly utility in e-books. I concur with you, until they re-rig the modern Copyright system to properly handle digital media, anyone who buys a Kindle in particular is a fool. The same with people who buy iPods and the like. There are plenty of totally non-proprietary systems out there that don't screw you for being honest.

 
At 5/21/2011 8:41 PM, Blogger OBloodyHell said...

>> Steve Jobs could learn a lesson from Bezos on this, instead of his maniacally proprietary approaches.

LOL, Sprewell, this is quite true. The fun part is that Jobs already had this lesson, but, in typical widiot** fashion learned nothing from it:

They Coulda Been a Contender

Just as Apple fornicated the canine with the Macintosh, so, too, is it repeating its bestiality with the iPhone. It is "winning" that market, its sales far outstrip any other single phone.

But just as the Mac was the best-selling computer of its time, while IBM clones overall outsold the Mac, losing the PC game, so too are total Android sales outstripping iPhone sales. No one is beating Apple singularly. But collectively, Apple is getting its butt munched.

==========================
**Widiot: Suppose there was a test for that form of intelligence we call "Wisdom", or "common sense" -- something that tested your ability to learn and draw from experience, just as the classical IQ test measures your capacity to learn from books.

If this were the case then many libtards would be measurable "widiots" -- "wisdom idiots", people whose capacity to learn from experience is notably sub-normal.

Jobs is demonstrating himself to be this way, just as the proponents of Keynesianism and Collectivist Economics show themselves incapable of learning from past events.

 
At 5/21/2011 8:59 PM, Blogger OBloodyHell said...

>>> Amazon isn't going to say how much of that Kindle volume was cannibalized from printed sales.

Ecclesiastes, "cannibalized" is hardly the word. The margins on printed books is not high -- the cost of paper, printing, and so forth is hardly trivial.

Then there's the warehouse space involved -- since print runs must generally be done in a certain minimal quantity, any "in stock" books are left sitting in inventory in a warehouse somewhere that must be at least somewhat climate-controlled for humidity as well as protected from vermin. (pulp is fairly tasty to many insects and rodents). Eventually, if you don't sell all of them, you decide to recover that inventory space and "remainder" the books, often at a loss.

Further, though the cost is somewhat subsidized by the incompetence of the USPS, the cost of shipping actual books is also nontrivial.

Now compare with the overhead of an e-book -- make as many copies of the original as you want, instantly on demand. The original takes up the exact same virtually trivial amount of server space regardless of if you eventually sell 100 copies or 1,000,000. And as for the cost of delivery...?

====================================================
If this is "cannibalism", then we should all wish to become tribesmen of Borneo.

:^D
====================================================

The difference between digital property and real property is the difference between steam and ice. This legal notion that they are somehow coverable by the same type of laws treating them as similar things is as insanely ludicrous as attempting to apply Boyle's law to ice...

"Hey, it's water, innit??!?!?"

 
At 5/21/2011 9:05 PM, Blogger OBloodyHell said...

>> In addition there's no guarantee that the new copy is identical to the original.

Ron, with the Kindle, there's NO guarantee that the copy on your Kindle is the same one as was on it yesterday.

As I noted above -- search on "1984 Kindle Controversy". There's nothing that stops them from randomly altering book content without your permission or even knowledge.

MiniTrue is here, and its real name is Amazon.

You will be able to place and keep a Kindle in my hands when they are cold and dead.

 
At 5/22/2011 10:49 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

Vange, the site that I linked to notes that the iPad 2 worked fine for 5 days of continuous use without a recharge, with 30% battery left after that. Apple's 10-hour figure is for continuous heavy video use, hardly typical usage. You should try reading sometime, you might learn something. ;)

To read on an iPad 2 you need for the screen to be lit up. That consumes a lot of power. If you want a comparison here you go. Based on personal experience I think that the review is on the money. But if you are claiming much more reading time than the review I cited please feel free to share it with us. Or with Apple, which does not make the claim that you do.

 
At 5/23/2011 3:08 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"You will be able to place and keep a Kindle in my hands when they are cold and dead."

I assume that will be right after they pry your gun from them.

 
At 5/23/2011 4:58 PM, OpenID Sprewell said...

Vange, I already linked to the Engadget review where they said they used the iPad 2 for five days without recharging. You counter with a review that claims that an ebook used more battery than a video, a claim that is laughable on its face. Video changes on your screen at 20-30 frames per second whereas you will flip a page in your ebook at most once every couple minutes. The fact that your linked review claims that an ebook used up the battery quicker than a video should have been a big red flag for you that something is wrong with their analysis.

I linked to the most-read tech blog on the planet, you link to some random site nobody has ever heard of. Of course, you don't know anything about these matters so you uncritically link to the lone erroneous data point that appears to support your silly thesis. This is perfectly in keeping with how you repeatedly make stupid and extravagant claims on various subjects that show that you don't really understand the topic under discussion.

 
At 5/23/2011 11:19 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Vange, I already linked to the Engadget review where they said they used the iPad 2 for five days without recharging. You counter with a review that claims that an ebook used more battery than a video, a claim that is laughable on its face. Video changes on your screen at 20-30 frames per second whereas you will flip a page in your ebook at most once every couple minutes. The fact that your linked review claims that an ebook used up the battery quicker than a video should have been a big red flag for you that something is wrong with their analysis.

You don't read well. You cannot use an iPad 2 continually for five days without charging it. The review you cited showed 10 hours and 26 minutes for watching video, which consumes less power than reading.

And the big question that you have to answer is why Apple still shows such low estimates of battery life if the ridiculous 5 day claim that you are promoting. In its literature Apple claims, "Even with the new thinner and lighter design, iPad has the same amazing 10-hour battery life.1 That’s enough juice for one flight across the ocean, or one movie-watching all-nighter, or a week’s commute across town. The power-efficient A5 chip and iOS keep battery life from fading away, so you can get carried away."

Well, I know that I can read several books on my Kindle before I have to recharge it. That's because I do not have to waste battery life to light up an LED screen as I would with an iPad. I suggest that you do a lot more research or just go into an Apple store and ask.

I linked to the most-read tech blog on the planet, you link to some random site nobody has ever heard of. Of course, you don't know anything about these matters so you uncritically link to the lone erroneous data point that appears to support your silly thesis. This is perfectly in keeping with how you repeatedly make stupid and extravagant claims on various subjects that show that you don't really understand the topic under discussion.

I quoted Apple itself. I pointed out that an iPad has to light up the LED screen in order for you to read a book. It is one of the reasons why the tests show that the iPad lasts longer running video than being used as a reader. As I said, try going to the Apple site and read about the battery life.

 
At 5/25/2011 4:56 PM, OpenID Sprewell said...

Vange, funny how you repeatedly make pronouncements about others that actually best apply to yourself: your lack of self-awareness is both stunning and hilarious. :D The engadget review says that they employed the iPad 2 in normal usage for 5 straight days, though obviously not continuously overnight or all the time during the day, without needing a recharge. Apple doesn't cite this because they are talking worst-case scenarios, which is what people want to know about. Video is a big drain on the battery, so knowing that it'll do 10 hours of video is a clue that it'll go much longer in normal use.

Yet you are completely ignorant about these issues, amazingly even when I explained them to you. Are you trying to say that one doesn't have to light up the LED-backlit screen to watch video? All usage is going to require the screen to be lit. The engadget review notes that they set the screen to 65% brightness when they tested the video battery life. Of course I have to bring this fact to your attention because you seem incapable of reading.

 
At 5/25/2011 4:57 PM, OpenID Sprewell said...

But here's the topper:

"The review you cited showed 10 hours and 26 minutes for watching video, which consumes less power than reading."

Anyone who can claim that reading takes up more power than video, even after I explained why that can't be the case, is clearly a moron. No point in slapping down your idiotic arguments anymore, as funny as it is to see you repeatedly make a fool of yourself, :) because it's clear that you know absolutely nothing about these issues.

 
At 5/25/2011 6:03 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Yet you are completely ignorant about these issues, amazingly even when I explained them to you. Are you trying to say that one doesn't have to light up the LED-backlit screen to watch video?

The black parts of the screen do not have to be lit up. Apple has made it clear as have the tests that I cited that reading is more power intensive than watching video. The reason should be obvious even to you.

All usage is going to require the screen to be lit. The engadget review notes that they set the screen to 65% brightness when they tested the video battery life. Of course I have to bring this fact to your attention because you seem incapable of reading.

They stated that they could not get much more than ten hours running video. Not five days. Apple says the same thing. So do all of the tests done on the i Pad. Yet you take one statement out of context and pretend that the i Pad can do something that Apple admits that it can't.

Show me a link to any test where you can read on the i Pad for five days? Or more than fifteen hours. I know that the Apple people at the company stores make no such claims. I guess that think that you better.

Well, once again, here are my links.

Book reading:11-12hrs

The iPad 2 has the same battery life as the original iPad. In our real-world tests, that was about 10 hours, regardless of what you do (we tried 10 hours watching video playback). This is pretty much the best battery life in the Tablet world. Why is the battery life so long on the iPad? Simply because its battery is literally huge! Exception: I suspect that 3D gaming would be pretty expensive, energy-wise. I don’t think that you can play for 10 hours. Let me get back to you after a new battery of tests.

To test the iPad, we charged it to 100%, then set out to use the device pretty much constantly. Wi-Fi was turned off in settings, and 3G turned on while the backlight was set to roughly 40%; additionally, the iPad was within at least three bars of AT&T's 3G service the entire time. Over the course of the day, we streamed 30 minutes of video from Netflix, watched a couple of YouTube videos, played several different applications, downloaded a couple of new ones from the App Store, listened to some audio content and heavily browsed the web. While driving, the iPad displayed the iPad's map program with GPS turned on and tracking the vehicle.
The test was started at 9:53 a.m. Despite using the iPad almost constantly throughout the day, it still retained 10% of its battery 10 hours and 12 minutes later. Different users will get different battery times, of course, depending on how and where they use the device. Running programs that are heavy on CPU power will definitely cut down on the iPad's usable time, as will running the slate in areas with weak cellular signals - the radio uses extra power searching for a signal.


There is a lot more.

 
At 5/26/2011 3:16 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

We expected that the iPad 2 would have identical battery life to the original iPad, given that the battery is about the same size. But we were wrong: the iPad 2 has significantly improved battery life for reading eBooks and playing video. However, the eBooks battery life remains significantly shorter than those we got from eInk devices like the Kindle and Sony Readers. The bottom line is that the iPad 2 will be fine for a daily commute or a day or two out of the office, but you’ll need to recharge for anything longer. It is also worth noting that the iPad and iPad 2 took a long time to charge: both required several hours connected to the included charger or a powered USB port before the battery was 100% charged.

EBook Battery Life - 7 hours and 27 Mins
Audio Battery Life - Over 24 Hours
Video Battery Life - 8 Hours 38 Mins


Like I said above, because of the advancement of the processors, the biggest drain on the battery comes from lighting up the screen. When you read most of the screen is light up so what you have is a much bigger drain of the battery than when you watch the average video. The tests show that. The bottom line is that when you look at all of the published tests the only way to get much more than 10 hours is to dim the screen. You do not have to do that with a Kindle. If you only use the 3G connection for downloading books you can read for weeks.

 

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