Saturday, December 4, 2010

Which One? Kindle or iPad? Oprah Says: Both! Amazon Says Kindle--and iPad, iPhone, iTouch, Androids, Blackberrys, Galaxys; eReaders are hot & eBook prices are falling

By Tom Dulaney, Editor

Oprah has no problem deciding whether the iPad or the Kindle should be under the Christmas tree. She loves them both. the company prefers Kindles.  However, its Kindle Store happily serves up ebooks to read on the most popular devices, and sells all of those Kindle-competing devices, too.  

Click on your preferences in this list to see Amazon's current prices:

As part of her continuing series of “favorite things,” Winfrey enthused about the iPad as her “most favorite thing” last month and raved about it for the cameras.

 "Words cannot describe what I feel for this magnificent device. I really think it's the best invention of the century so far," Oprah says. "Thanks to my iPad, I now read about four newspapers a day." She also uses it to keep a journal and watch movies, TV shows and the news. "I write my column for O magazine on the iPad way before the deadline because I love writing on it so much," she says.

On Monday, December 6, she'll give the Amazon Kindle device the star treatment. Every member of the audience will get one.

Oprah's Book Club Pick #65:  She'll also unveil #65 for her Oprah's Book Club. Her choices drive books right up the bestseller lists.  You can pre-order this unknown, unnamed book by the unnamed author now.

Readers with Kindle devices on their shopping lists might want to wait until Monday, advises our publisher, Stephen Windwalker, in a detailed post at our sister blog, Kindle Nation Daily.

He warns readers to be ready to buy any Kindles on their Christmas lists on right after Oprah's Kindle spectacular airs—but cautions: wait until after the show. The last time Winfrey gave Kindles to the audience, she also gave viewers a coupon code that saved them $50 in the Amazon store.

But whether there is a code or not, be prepared to click and buy. Last time around, Kindles sold out and stayed that way for nearly 4 months.

For those following the ups and downs of ebooks and ebook pricing during this turbulent year, Windwalker notes #65 is priced at $7.99. He sees deeper meaning in the price tag, and in the fact that Penguin is its publisher.

Oprah is a force in everything she touches, and Windwalker indicates unknown gusts will blow across the ebook landscape from Oprah's studios in the Windy City of Chicago. He finds potential changes already looming for the “agency model” of ebookselling, whereby major publishers took control of the retail ebook prices of their books.  #65 may be a milestone in the battle by top publishers to drive ebook prices higher as a sign the price war might be tapering off, he says in his report. It's speculative, but he's been a publisher and a book store owner and keenly observes the world of books.

Those who want to follow the nuances of the ebook revolution will find all the detail they want in the report, by an expert industry observer.

That post on Kindle Nation Daily was accompanied by another, even more detailed, analysis of the Kindle Store's pricing of ebooks headlined: "Despite Agency Model, Overall Prices are Falling in the Kindle Store ... And on the Kindle Bestseller List."

Some highlights of Windwalker's analysis:

  • There are 769,766 ebooks in the Kindle Store now, up from about 410,000 at the time the iPad was introduced in late January.
  • 65% of the titles cost from $2.99 to $9.99, the price range encouraged by Amazon.
  • The biggest jump in the number of ebook titles at a specific price is for the $2.99 tag. Some 29,042 ebooks cost that amount now, compared to 18,804 at that price on September 5. $2.99 is the basement price for books to earn royalties at 70% instead of 35%. $9.99 is the ceiling.
Overall, ebook prices are falling,” Windwalker concludes. “Bestseller prices are also falling gradually.”

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