ENTRIES TAGGED "tablets"
Horace Dediu addresses the Amazon-Apple threat level.
With its recent release of the new Kindle Fire HD tablets, some have argued that Amazon has declared war on Apple and its iPad. But how serious is the threat? Are the two companies even playing the same game? I reached out to analyst Horace Dediu, founder and author of Asymco, to get his take. Dediu will speak on all this and more at TOC Frankfurt on October 9, 2012. Our short interview follows.
How disruptive is the Kindle Fire to the low-end tablet market?
Horace Dediu:The problem I see with the Kindle is that the fuel to make it an increasingly better product that can become a general purpose computer that is hired to do most of what we hire computers to do is not there. I mean, that profitability to invest in new input methods, new ways of interacting and new platforms can’t be obtained from a retailer’s margin.
Also, there is a cycle time problem in that the company does not want to orphan its devices since they should “pay themselves off” as console systems do today. That means the company is not motivated to move its users to newer and “better” solutions that constantly improve. The assumption (implicit) in Kindle is that the product is “good enough” as it is and should be used for many years to come. That’s not a way to ensure improvements necessary to disrupt the computing world.
Lastly, the Amazon brand will have a difficult time reaching six billion consumers. Retail is a notoriously difficult business to expand internationally. Digital retail is not much easier than brick-and-mortar. You can see how slow expansion of different media has been for iTunes.
Kindle Serials and data analytics, new Kindle lineup with forced advertisements, and a look at complementary digital publishing.
Here are a few stories from the publishing space that caught my attention this week.
Charles Dickens was on to something
In addition to showcasing the new Kindle lineup (see below), Jeff Bezos introduced Kindle Serials, a new subscription program for serialized books, at the Amazon event this week. Readers will be able to subscribe to books that will be released in “episodes,” with automatic content updates — think Charles Dickens in the age of the Internet. Sarah Kessler at Fast Company took a look at the program and argued that this format could have a profound effect on the way books are written in the digital era.
Kessler reports that each book will have its own discussion board, and “[u]nlike most book discussion boards, [reader discussions] may influence the outcome of the books.” (A recent study project by Latitude showed this to be one of the main demands from consumers in regard to how they want to experience storytelling in the digital age.) Writers, Kessler argues, will be able to put the serialized format to good use, as it will provide them with more data than they’ve ever had before:
“Publishing one segment at a time will enable authors, like app developers, to make decisions based on user activity. Data analytics will push that ability to another level. Do readers have high drop-off rates when a certain character appears? Maybe he should appear less in the next episode. Do they share a certain idea with their social networks? Maybe that idea comes up again.”
Kessler says the rise in book data analytics interest (noting companies like Hiptype) will undoubtedly affect the future of reading and writing experiences, “[b]ut what will change the books themselves are authors. And Amazon’s new serial format, combined with the rise of data analytics for everything, has potential to change their methods.”
Two surveys bode well for digital publishing, HMH teams with Amazon, and books aren't the library's only game.
One survey said ereader and tablet ownership doubled during the holidays; a second showed that Amazon may not be losing money on its Kindle Fire sales. Also, Amazon got a new print edition distributor and the library discussion elevated beyond ebooks.
Amazon launches KF8, The Guardian becomes more engaging, and tablet users don't discriminate between print and digital.
Any hopes of EPUB3 becoming an across-the-board publishing format standard were dashed by Amazon's new KF8 format. Also, The Guardian launched two new features and a Pew study looked at tablet user behavior.
New revenue streams for news orgs, Amazon gnaws away at the publishing industry, and Kobo launches Vox.
News organizations look to commercial endeavors for unorthodox revenue. Also, Amazon continues to extend its reach into publishing and Kobo jumps on the tablet bandwagon.
Jon Feldman on "Speakeasy Cocktails" and a new approach to content development.
In this interview, Open Air Publishing's Jon Feldman says publishers aren't truly embracing digital and are simply pushing out flat electronic versions of print books. He talks about the development of "Speakeasy Cocktails" and how it embraces the rich ebook experience.
Max Franke offers an insider's perspective.
In this podcast, Max Franke of epubli sat down with Joe Wikert to discuss the ebook market in Germany. He says though the German digital publishing market is still small compared to the US, he expects it to grow as more tablets and ereaders enter the market.
Amazon tablet rumors, Stephen King offers early access, and the "email" copyright turns 29.
Can Amazon crack the $300 tablet barrier? Also, Stephen King's latest was available early to those with Klout, and the man who copyrighted "email" 29 years ago says email death notices are premature.