In what’s turning out to be quite the week for internet-based publishing innovations, Amazon has brought its Kindle Unlimited service to British shores. The subscription service, billed as a literary equivalent to Netflix and Spotify, allows users unlimited access (as the name implies) to over 650,000 Kindle books and an extensive library of Audible audiobooks for £7.99 a month (at current exchange rates nearly £2 more, incidentally, than the $9.99 a month charged by the American service, which launched earlier this summer). Amazon is offering a free 30 day trial of the service to all those who sign up.
Posts Tagged ‘Amazon’
Of all the threats Amazon has posed to brick and mortar bookshops to date, real-world competition – that is, a branch of Amazon that book buyers can actually walk into – has been fairly low on the radar. Whilst an Amazon shop that allows customers to browse its lovingly-curated shelves physically still seems improbable, there is nevertheless bound to be a lot of nervous collar tugging in bookshops around the world at the news that the übercorporation is manifesting itself in an offline form on the campus of Indiana’s Purdue University as of next year.
Shots fired in the ongoing dispute between Amazon and Hachette in the US over profit margins on ebooks: so little faith does the online retail behemoth appear to have in resolving the situation quickly that, in a post on its Kindle forum earlier this week, it recommended that anyone in urgent need of a Hachette title ‘purchase a new or used version from one of our third-party sellers or from one of our competitors.’ That’s Amazon – the company so keen to retain your business that it hopes to integrate drone technology to make its deliveries more efficient and might use your browsing history to send you items that you didn’t even order but probably want – turning away your business rather than accepting Hachette’s terms. In this ‘mum and dad are going through some things’ scenario, dad just rented a flat on the other side of town.
This is a guest post from Piers Blofeld. Piers is an Agent at Sheil Land Associates where he represents both fiction and non-fiction clients. He represented the Frankenstein app by Dave Morris which topped the app charts on both sides of the Atlantic this summer. A recent success is Jamie Thomson’s Dark Lord: The Teenage Years, the winner of the Roald Dahl Prize.
The most amazing thing – of all the amazing things – that Amazon has done is to have gathered a wholly unprecedented body of data about the world’s reading habits. Traditionally, publishers and booksellers have simply known what people buy. Once the book is in the hands of the reader and out of the store it is, quite literally, a closed book to them. For Amazon it is different. They not only know what people buy, but when they buy, and, much more importantly, how they read.
Following on from last year’s unexpected partnership with Waterstones that saw Kindles sold in the chain’s brick and mortar stores, Amazon has now announced that it will make its e-readers available for sale in independent bookshops in the USA. Amazon Source offers two different packages for physical retailers: a ‘general retail program’ aimed at consumer electronics shops (i.e. markets more interested in hardware than software) that offers Kindle devices at a 9% discount from their suggested retail price and accessories at a 35% discount, and a ‘bookseller program’, which only offers a 6% discount on the price of hardware but keeps the 35% discount on accessories and adds 10% commission on every e-book bought by customers from Kindles bought at the bookseller’s shop.
Continuing its ongoing efforts to have a finger in every single literary pie that’s going, Amazon has now realised that it hasn’t as yet made any money from the ever popular realm of literary journals, and so has set about remedying that by preparing to make money from the ever popular realm of literary journals. The multi-hyphenate online behemoth has launched Day One in its American Kindle store, a typically ambitious weekly publication that will endeavour to highlight the work of new and emerging authors and poets.
WH Smith yesterday took down its website in reaction to the weekend discovery that it was amongst a number of digital retailers – also including Amazon and Barnes & Noble – selling
William Faulkner novels self-published pornography featuring depictions of incest, rape and bestiality. Instead of the usual shopfront, visitors to the Smith site were greeted by a holding page featuring a statement from the business saying ‘a number of unacceptable titles were appearing on our website through the Kobo website that has an automated feed to ours’. WH Smith, of course, takes both its e-book hardware and software from the Canadian e-reader manufacturers, including its massive library of titles, which in this case appears to have passed to the Smith site without any vetting along the way.
Clearly feeling threatened by others edging in on its whole ‘selling books at unsustainably low prices’ thing, Amazon has started to price-match Sainsbury’s October e-book promotion, which sees the supermarket selling a shifting variety of popular titles digitally for 99p each. The promotion, which began last week, features a selection of one day only special offers that changes every weekday, alongside a stock of dozens of other titles that will remain at the reduced price for the whole month. Yesterday’s (October 9th) daily titles included David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas, Sarah Winman’s When God Was A Rabbit and John Banville’s Booker-winning The Sea, all of which were subsequently brought down to 99p on Amazon too. The title with the largest discount was Bridget Asher’s The Provence Cure for the Brokenhearted, down £6 from its usual Sainsbury’s retail price of £6.99.
Amazon has revealed the latest additions to its line of Kindles, with three new models seeing staggered releases in the US in the run-up to the Christmas shopping season. First to be released is the upgraded Kindle Fire HD, which keeps the 1280×800 resolution 7″ screen of the previous generation but switches out that model’s 1.2GHz processor for a 1.5GHz and is slightly more compact overall. It’s out on 2 October and costs $139 (around £86). Here’s an artist’s impression of its packaging:
Get ready to break out the Citizen Kane references – and, by extension, the Mr Burns references – because Jeff Bezos, benevolent (?) overlord of the Amazon empire, apparently thinks it would be fun to run a newspaper, having just bought the Washington Post. The venerable D.C. institution has been under the control of the Graham family since 1946, and in the 13 years before that was owned by Philip Graham’s father-in-law, Eugene Meyer, who bought it at a bankruptcy auction. The paper’s present circumstances haven’t become quite so dire as those, but the $250 million Bezos has paid for it will no doubt be appreciated nonetheless.