Sometimes there’s so much interesting Kindle news, it’s hard to know where to start writing! Here’s a “lightning round” of some of the most interesting new developments in the Kindle world…
Amazon’s Discounting Kindle ebooks if You’ve Already Purchased a Print Edition!
I hadn’t really grasped the full significance of this, until Amazon’s Kindle Content Vice President turned up in an article about the upcoming upgrade to the Kindle Paperwhite. There’s a new service from Amazon called “Matchbook” which will let you buy the Kindle ebook version of print books you’ve bought from Amazon — even if you bought the book sometime long ago over the last 18 years! “If you logged onto your CompuServe account during the Clinton administration and bought a book like Men Are from Mars, Women are from Venus from Amazon, Kindle MatchBook now makes it possible for that purchase—18 years later—to be added to your Kindle library at a very low cost,” explained Russ Grandinetti, Amazon’s vice president of Kindle Content.
What The Kindle Paperwhite Really Means?
Everyone’s speculating on what clues we can learn about Amazon’s future plans from their upgrade to the Kindle Paperwhite. I thought The Huffington Post came up with a fairly skeptical take.. (“The upgraded Paperwhite comes at a time when sales of tablets — from companies like Apple, Samsung, Asus and Amazon itself — have eaten into sales of ereaders. Sales of Kindle ereaders — which make up almost half of ereader sales worldwide — peaked in 2011 and are expected to continue to decline over the next five years, according to IDC. The technology research firm predicts a drop in all ereader sales from a peak of 26.4 million worldwide in 2011 to 11.7 million in 2017.”) Although towards the end of their article, they talked to an analyst who says Amazon underestimated just how popular color tablet computers would become — but that ultimately, this may have just spawned a new strategy for Amazon, of focusing on that “small, voracious reader group” who still prefer a dedicated black-and-white reading device.
The analyst points out, “It also happens that they’re the ones that buy the most books!”
And Amazon insists they’re still committed to their dedicated digital readers, according to USA Today‘s interview with Amazon’s Vice President of Kindle Content, who announces confidently that “based on everything we know today there’ll be many more generations of our e-reading devices from here!”
Amazon’s Still Making TV Shows
There’s still moments of giddy euphoria where it feels like the entire world of media is being re-invented by the biggest technology companies. (It still feels exciting and new for me to watch blockbuster Hollywood movies on my hand-held Kindle Fire tablet — and even episodes of TV shows!) But even then, it still felt weird when Amazon announced last year that they were now producing their own digital TV shows — including one that starred John Goodman. That show was called Alpha House — its first episode had a funny cameo by Bill Murray — and it was one of the most popular shows among online voters when Amazon debuted it last year. And now Amazon’s announced that when they release new episodes — later this year and early next — they’ll be adding even more familiar big-name TV stars to the program. (Specifically, Cynthia Nixon from Sex and the City, Wanda Sykes from Curb Your Enthusiasm, and Amy Sedaris from Strangers with Candy. The show is a political satire written by Garry Trudeau, the cartoonist who created the newspaper comic strip Doonesbury — and I’m impressed by the way it tells a story and gets its laughs without specifically attacking any political targets…other than hypocrisy.
Amazon’s Warehouses Are Still Amazing
This last item isn’t really a news story, but it’s still fascinating. Towards the bottom of their article about the Kindle Paperwhite, The Huffington Post came up with some fascinating photos of the inside of an Amazon warehouse. It made me realize that, while I’ve imagined the stacks and stacks of books, I’ve never actually seen them! And there’s even more there than I’d ever dared to dream.
The future is a wonderful and unpredictable thing. I guess it pays to stop once in a while, and at least appreciate how wonderful the present can be, too!