The Apple Dilemma~ from The Launch Blog

20 January 2013

The Apple Dilemma:  Marketshare or Margins

“Steve Jobs famously got Apple back on track by reducing the number of products Apple had down to a reasonable number in order to create product excellence.

“Focus, focus, focus.

“Excellence, excellence, excellence.

“That’s why it’s was a huge, huge deal when Apple finally — after Steve Jobs fought against it — launched the iPad Mini. The press and consumers went crazy for this product when Amazon had had the Kindle Fire out for 13 months and Google had had the Nexus 7 out for five. It was a big deal not because of the product itself, but because the app ecosystem was finally freed to embrace a new footprint.

“Steve was right about focus while simultaneously wrong about the smaller tablet footprint — long live cognitive dissonance and a tolerance for ambiguity!”


“This week someone handed me a BlackBerry 10. It’s basically as good as the iPhone 5, in fact some would argue the finish feels better in your hand.

“Anyone who has used the Microsoft Surface will tell you that while the Microsoft app store is far behind Apple’s, the interface and the hardware are as good or better.

“Finally, a bunch of dorky friends of mine have been praising the Samsung Galaxy Note 2, an absurdly large smartphone (or tiny version of the iPad mini). After lunch with David Eun of Samsung at CES I said screw it, I’ll buy that really dorky looking phone.

“Now I love it.

“When reaching for my iPad Mini, iPhone or Note, I most frequently reach for the Note.”

Read the rest here at:  Launch

I actually love my Android.  Julia

Your E-Book Is Reading You.

4 July 2012

From The Wall Street Journal:

From Alexandra Alter,

“It takes the average reader just seven hours to read the final book in Suzanne Collins’s “Hunger Games” trilogy on the Kobo e-reader—about 57 pages an hour. Nearly 18,000 Kindle readers have highlighted the same line from the second book in the series: “Because sometimes things happen to people and they’re not equipped to deal with them.” And on Barnes & Noble’s Nook, the first thing that most readers do upon finishing the first “Hunger Games” book is to download the next one.

“For centuries, reading has largely been a solitary and private act, an intimate exchange between the reader and the words on the page. But the rise of digital books has prompted a profound shift in the way we read, transforming the activity into something measurable and quasi-public.

“In the past, publishers and authors had no way of knowing what happens when a reader sits down with a book. Does the reader quit after three pages, or finish it in a single sitting? Do most readers skip over the introduction, or read it closely, underlining passages and scrawling notes in the margins? Now, e-books are providing a glimpse into the story behind the sales figures, revealing not only how many people buy particular books, but how intensely they read them.”

Read the rest of the article here:  The Wall Street Journal

—  Julia Barrett

iPad Not a Big Ereading Device

28 April 2011

An ebook reading research report from Simba is out. Since Passive Guy doesn’t want to spend $3,250 to buy it, he’ll work from the press release.


Although the iPad has generated a lot of hype since its launch in April 2010, the survey reveals most owners do not use it to read books, suggesting the device is used for games and other media instead. The report finds owners of tablet devices do not make up the majority of e-book users, with 45% of survey respondents citing the PC or Mac as their e-reading device.

“A lot of people equate the sale of a new gadget with the creation of a new reader, and it just doesn’t happen,” said Michael Norris, senior analyst and author of the report. “In both the offline and online world, there are a lot of independent factors and distractions that will keep a person from discovering and enjoying a book.”

. . . .

According to the report, demographic shifts occurred within the population of e-book buyers in 2010, with women now outnumbering men. The shift was a dramatic change from the 2009 results, which revealed 13% of men and 9% of women had purchased an e-book.

“In 2009, about 6,000 people a day bought an e-book for the first time,” added Norris. “2010 expansion was less dramatic on the newcomer side, but the population of e-book buyers shifted away from the disengaged and occasional buyer and towards consumers who are more committed to reading print and digital books in general.”

Link to the rest at Simba

Why iPad Owners Hold Onto Their Kindles

26 April 2011

It’s an open secret that a lot of iPad users buy their ebooks from Kindle instead of i Books. It’s a less-open secret that a good percentage of new iPad purchasers already own a Kindle and plan to continue to use it for ebooks instead of switching to the iPad.

Dennis Loy Johnson provides more information:

Amazon, of course, is the presumed leader of the eBook realm (they don’t exactly report their numbers, so who really knows?). But when the iPad was launched, a lot of folks assumed Apple would be able to challenge Amazon’s dominance in this arena like no one else could. And yet, according to Piper Jaffray, when the iPad 2 went on sale this year, 24% of those in line owned Kindles versus 13% of iPad buyers the year before. Which poses the question: if Apple had really intended for the iPad to put pressure on Amazon, shouldn’t those numbers be flipped? The iPad, it would seem, is not exactly threatening the Kindle at all.

So it must sting that they haven’t made a little more progress with e-Books through iBooks by now. Which may be why, out of all the numbers they tout in their quarterly reports, they’re cagey about iBook sales.

. . . .

Of the many reasons people have flocked to the Kindle and other e-readers is that the e-ink display is not backlit. E-ink is more akin to the reading experience of looking at the printed page of a real book. And as anyone who works on a computer for a living will tell you, it’s nice being able to read from a screen that’s not blaring at you if you plan to dig in with a good book.

Perhaps it was always Apple’s strategy to adapt the iPad and integrate e-ink at a more deliberate pace. Since they already had success with the iPhone–and it was that operating system that would run the iPad–there was no reason to put everything they might eventually want in a tablet if the product category had a history of failure.

Link to the rest at Melville House Publishing

Publishers are Ruining Books and Magazines on the iPad

25 March 2011
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An ER doctor complains about pricing for iPad publications. When you add Apple’s assumption that it’s entitled to a premium for its hardware to the publishers’ assumption that because it’s new, it should cost more than paper, you have some significant pricing escalation. It even bothers a doctor.


[T]he statistics of an initial peak of electronic magazine sales on the ipad, then recent decrease, is not surprising. This is because early adopters wanted to see really cool content on their really cool device. And they were willing to pay for it. At least initially.

However, it is insane to pay more for an electronic document than the written version.

. . . .

My concern is that newspaper/magazine publishers will see the lower sales and say that the model of electronic media has failed. It hasn’t. THEIR model is what is failing: which is to say, the model whereby you gouge the early adopters and then drop the price when it becomes clear nobody will buy your product, and then drop the format when it “fails.”

. . . .

For book publishers, it is a similar idea. If you are going to charge me $20 for an electronic book, I want added value. I want video interviews of the author. I want interpretations by critics. I want photos of the setting (a la Dan Brown “extra content” books).

. . . .

If you won’t give me added value, then I want a lower cost. And I mean REALLY lower. I think no electronic book that is merely a pdf of the print copy is worth more than $4.00 a copy.


Link to the rest at Dr. Brenner’s Thoughts on Healthcare

H/T to Bayla Babbles

iPad 2 Not Replacing Kindle

15 March 2011

An interesting, semi-scientific poll of first-day iPad 2 purchasers shows that 24% own a Kindle and only 6% of iPad 2 purchasers plan to use the iPad 2 to read books.

Link to the rest at Fortune.