The world of ebooks is always in turmoil but at the moment things seem to be developing fast. Kindle will soon be available on the high street, Google is about to start selling books. And would you download a free book if it had embedded ads?
Amazon claims that the new Kindle models are the best sellers yet. More new generation Kindles were ordered in the first four weeks of availability than in the same time frame following any other Kindle launch. In other words, the new Kindles are the fastest-selling ever and overall the Kindle is the best-selling product on Amazon.com for two years running. However customers in some countries are experiencing delays in actually getting a Kindle.
The latest news is that office supplies retailer Staples is going to sell all of the new model Kindles, including the DX, in its 1,500 plus US stores. Earlier Target Corp reached a deal to sell Kindles in its US stores. At roughly the same time the Barnes & Noble Nook will be on sale at the 1,070 Best By Co stores.
While Amazon are tight lipped about the number of Kindles they have actually sold Forreter Research estimate that the number is around 5 million since the launch in 2007 and that the Nook has sold around 1 million units.
An ongoing price war has seen ebook readers drop in price rapidly and more reductions look likely as the sales of ebook rise. Eventually the sales model for ebook readers has to move to the "razor blade" situation where readers are sold at a loss to gain the profit stream generated by ebook sales. Clearly at this stage of the game only booksellers will be left in the game and there will be a big incentive to ensure that their ebook readers can only work easily with books sold by them.
Now consider the fact that Google is in the process of launching Google Editions - its very own bookstore - and it is expected that sometime later in the year the first Chrome-based slates should hit the market. Perhaps there is a new player waiting in the wings.
Another likely turn of events is the introduction of advertising in ebooks following the "success" of advertising in mobile applications. Amazon for example filed a patent for advertisements on the Kindle last year. Readers are mostly horrified by the idea of ads in books but given a choice - pay for a book or have it for free with ads - they might just mellow.
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