I missed the big announcement, because I was rather busy with this little thing called “real life”, but surely you have all heard the news by now:
Amazon has dropped the price of the regular Kindle to 79 US-dollars and introduces two new products, the Kindle Touch, priced at 99 US-dollars, and the full colour Kindle Fire (a.k.a. the Amazon tablet) for 199 US-dollars.
Once again, international Amazon customers lose out, because the Kindle Touch and Fire won’t be available internationally yet, including Amazon UK and Amazon Germany. However, lost in all the uproar is the news that Amazon Germany has dropped the price of the regular Kindle to 99 Euros and now offers the Kindle with a German language menu (as well as English, French, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese). Though Germans have to wait till October 12 to buy their new Kindle.
Today’s announcement goes a long way towards addressing the issue I discussed in my last post, namely that e-readers are still too expensive for many people. Though even the current price is still way out of range for the very poor. And people in other countries, particularly non-Western countries, will have to deal with the issue that with shipping costs and import duties, even the cheapest Kindle will still cost a lot more than 79 US-dollars, if Amazon even accepts orders from some countries at all. Still, it’s a step forward.
At these prices, I may actually buy one some day soon (right now I use Kindle for PC, when I want to read an e-book). Not the tablet, though, because I have no need for tablets. What is more, I will never give up on print books, because that’s my preferred format for reading (and American publishers had better damn well continue printing them). However, many indie books and books from small digital publishers don’t come out in print and this will make it easier to read them.
Besides, this announcement is very exciting for every author, whether traditionally or indie-published, because with the Kindle price drop there will suddenly be a whole lot of people with brand-new Kindles and nothing to read. Which means that they have to buy books.
In fact, if you have bought one of the new Kindles and are looking for something to read, why not consider one of my books. They’re inexpensive and quite good, if I dare say so myself.
Amazon has made another announcement today, that has been somewhat lost among all the news about the new cheap Kindles, namely that the Amazon Associates program now allows its users to open their own online store powered by Amazon. Thanks to Passive Guy for pointing this out. I have been planning to eventually sell my books via my own site for a while now and this makes it a lot easier. Indeed, I will very likely be playing with Amazon‘s aStore program long before I ever play with one of their Kindles.
So what does all this mean for the future? There’s a lot of speculation, but right now nobody seems to know for sure. Indeed, Mike Shatzkin discusses what we do or don’t know about the future four years into the e-book revolution.
Indeed, the only certain prediction we can make is that amount of “gloom and doom – Rejoice/lament, for publishing as we know it, the bookstore and the print book itself are dying” articles will increase. Case in point: Here is an article from a site called TechCrunch about the dystopian future of bookstores.
With excitement building over Amazon‘s new e-reader and tablet ventures building over the past few days, there have also been discussions of e-readers and electronic indie publishing in venues that don’t normally discuss these subjects. For example, the British tabloid Daily Mail or rather their weekend edition, the Mail on Sunday, has discovered indie publishing. The article isn’t bad by the standards of the Daily Mail, though there are some bloopers, e.g. Saffina Desforges is renamed Saffi Griffith for some reason. The comments are full of prejudice, but by Daily Mail standards they’re actually quite civilized.
Inspired by the Amazon announcements, the Guardian asks whether the new Kindles will stoke the fires of e-reading (I bet they loved coming up with that headline). The article mainly focuses on the Kindle Fire, i.e. the full colour tablet model, but it’s not bad otherwise and gives a nice shout-out to indie author Lexi Revellian.