Tag Archives: ereader

Why is Waterstones Selling Kindles?

James Daunt, the man holding the Waterstones reins, has correctly identified the Kindle as the ereader that UK readers want. But is it really a good idea to sell them in his stores? After removing the Sony ereaders from their stock, I expected them to start selling at least the Nook and at best a Waterstones-branded ereader linked to their own ebook store. But the Kindle? Isn’t Daunt shooting himself in the foot?

I don’t think so.

Cards on the table: selling the Kindle is a massive short-term loss for Waterstones. It will actively disconnect readers from their own ebook store; those ebooks are sold in the open EPUB format, which isn’t supported by the Kindle. Rather than converting files and illegally stripping DRM, customers will buy from Amazon instead. But it will provide Waterstones will two very important things.

Revenue and reprieve.

The best scenario for Waterstones is to have its own ereader, one that can truly rival the Kindle and bring customers back into the fold. Daunt has admitted that Waterstones is late to the game and that an ereader couldn’t be ready until next Christmas.

But why wait until then to take advantage of the hardware revenue? Selling Kindles means they get a cut of Kindle sales. That’s more than they were getting before. And instead of wasting time on second best, they’ll be selling what everyone already wants. So Waterstones starts earning more revenue.

It also buys Daunt some breathing space. Instead of rushing an ereader to the market and playing catch-up, Waterstones can properly plan and execute a strategy. The lost ebook customers aren’t too much of a worry; technology has an expiry date by its nature. Customers will be quick to drop their Kindle when it’s overshadowed by a superior newcomer. Revenue and reprieve will allow Waterstones to build that shadow.

At first glance this deal looks a lot like a little white flag raised to Amazon. But I suspect that it’s part of a bigger, longer game.

Here’s hoping.

Books to Buy for Your New Kindle

Hundreds If not thousands of people unwrapped an ereader yesterday and are no doubt asking themselves “what now?” How to fill this new toy with books without breaking the bank? With these three tips:

1. Download the classics

I know, I know. All too often “classic” is a byword for “the only people who like this are English teachers”. But some classics are good books as well, and best of all you can get nearly all of them for free on ereaders. Try:

Dracula – The first and best vampire novel.

Wuthering Heights – A tale of wild, passionate and destructive love.

Turn of the Screw – A perfect ghost story; short, taught and fraught with uncertainty. Is she mad or not?

2. Try the self-published

Self-publishing is coming of age; it’s no longer the preserve of those who aren’t good enough, it’s a home for many talented authors who just want to do it themselves. Best of all, because they haven’t the overheads of an expensive publishing house to pay for, their books are usually quite cheap. Try:

Legend Unleashed by M. Latimer-Ridley, a tale of a girl drawn into a war between werewolves and wizards. If you want to know more, you can check out my review here, but I can assure you of a good read.

Bad Blood by Ginny Lurcock is a paranormal romance about vampires, but don’t mistake it for a Twilight wannabe. Ginny has a style I defy you not to adore and this is a book that will make you laugh. Actually out loud. The book has more personality than some people I know. I urge you to check it out.

And, of course, I have a few stories of my own you could download. Fancy a horror story about a house that’s more than haunted? Or a story about a homeless superhero? Then just click here!

3. Watch out for deals

Amazon are running a 12 Days of Kindle promotion, heavily discounting ebooks for the next twelve days. Amazon do often offer discounts and deals. If you’re on Twitter, be sure to follow @AmazonKindle or @KindleUK. If you’re not on Twitter, check their site regularly.

4. Use the samples

Most ebooks will offer a short sample as a free download. Make the most of this tool to try before you buy.

Yes, that was four tips. But the fourth was too important to leave out.

There are plenty of great books out there and, now you don’t have to pay for all the paper and storage costs, you can afford to get more bang for your buck. Enjoy the digital revolution!

The Ereader Wars Are Already Over

With Christmas galloping its way towards us at a frightening pace, a gift that’s guaranteed to be popular this year is an ereader. Even for us poor Brits, though, there’s plenty of choice out there. But I’m here to tell that there is no choice at all.

You’re probably already scoffing at me now. There’s plenty of choice, you may cry. iPad, Kobo, Android tablets, Kindle, Sony, Nook and many more! All viable ereaders with similar technology. And whilst this is true there is, to mind, only two things that matter.

E-ink and content.

Tablet computers use LCD displays which produce glare and chew up battery life. E-ink is like reading a physical page and consume so little power a single charge can last a month. For ereaders, e-ink is the only way forward.

Content, you might think, would boil down to how many books you can get on a particular device. Tablets actually win on this score because of their ability to offer different bookstores through apps. But, on the dedicated ereader, Amazon has launched a torpedo that struck true.

The .AZW format.

This is the format that all Amazon ebooks are sold in. It’s also a format that isn’t supported by any ereader other than the Kindle; it’s owned by Amazon and they won’t let anyone else play with it. That means that anyone who buys an Amazon book must have a Kindle or Kindle app to read it on.

Sure, you could just buy all your books elsewhere. But Amazon have 152 million customers who have already been lured in by the fact that Amazon sell almost everything. You’re probably one of them. And the odds are that most of those customers won’t go somewhere else to buy ebooks. It’s too much of a bother. And once you’ve bought that .AZW ebook, you’re stuck with a Kindle. And, as previously discussed, there’s only one real choice in that department.

So don’t let people convince you there’s an ereader war. There isn’t. Until Amazon open up support for .AZW ebooks, or adopt a more open format, there’s only one ereader that matters at all: the Kindle 4.

Don’t agree? Feel free to put me in my place.