Amazon and Samsung partner up for custom Kindle store on Galaxy smartphones and tablets

19 April 2014

From Digital Trends:

Samsung has signed a deal with Amazon, and will jointly launch a custom version of the Kindle book store made specifically for Galaxy phone and tablets.

. . . .

Owners will be entitled to download 12 free books per year, taken from a choice of four offered up each month. The books on offer will be “prominent,” so expect an Amazon-curated list of well-known novels from which to choose.

. . . .

Additionally, the app will also provide access to newspapers and magazines, along with 500,000 book titles which are exclusive to the Kindle store. It also features Whispersync, so your place in a book is saved across all your Kindle devices and apps, plus the option to backup your books in the cloud using Amazon’s Worry-Free Archive feature.

. . . .

Samsung says the app is available right now in 90 countries around the world, but don’t go looking for it inside the Google Play store. Instead, you’ll need to visit Samsung’s own app store on your phone.

Link to the rest at Digital Trends

Amazon looks to pump up Kindle sales with monthly payments

14 March 2014

From Retail Wire:

Maybe Amazon’s mindreading technology does work. While many of the recommendations that I’m used to getting from the e-tailing giant are less than precise, one showed up in my in-box this morning that might be worth exploring.

We’ve been talking about buying another tablet so the youngest member of the household won’t have to borrow from the adults. We haven’t pulled the trigger because we’ve been getting by without one and prices, even on entry-level tablets, are high. Today, however, in rides on a symbolic white horse with an e-mail offer to take a bit of the sting out of buying its Kindle Fire 7″ Tablet — monthly payments starting at $27.80.

According to Amazon, customers who want to take advantage of the offer will be charged 20 percent of the device’s price up front, plus applicable tax and shipping charges. The remaining 80 percent will be broken down into four monthly payments charged to their credit card.

Link to the rest at Retail Wire and here’s a link to the Kindle Fire monthly payment deal.

Barnes & Noble, Microsoft Revise Nook Partnership

14 March 2014

From The Wall Street Journal:

Barnes & Noble and Microsoft have agreed to revise their digital-reading partnership, allowing the bookseller to stop developing its Nook e-reading app for computing devices powered by Microsoft software.

Barnes & Noble said it would stop work on apps for Windows 8 computers, phones and tablets, and support a possible Microsoft-created digital-reading service or app. That service, which Microsoft hasn’t announced, was mentioned in a regulatory filing Thursday as “the Microsoft Consumer Reader.”

. . . .

The revised pact, which was disclosed in a regulatory filing, will help Nook preserve the cash that would have been used to develop the new app, while still providing e-reading content for Microsoft.

Link to the rest at The Wall Street Journal (Link may expire)

PG thinks it sounds like both sides of this strange partnership are disillusioned.

195M Tablets Sold In 2013, Android Grabs Top Spot From iPad With 62% Share

3 March 2014

From TechCrunch:

A new tipping point in the world of tablets: today the analysts at Gartner have released their tablet sales numbers for 2013, and Android has topped the list for the most popular platform for the first time, outselling Apple’s range of iPad tablets nearly twofold. Of the 195 million tablets sold in 2013, Android took nearly 62% of sales on 121 million tablets, while Apple sold 70 million iPad tablets for a 36% share.

In comparison, last year, Apple led the tablet category with nearly 53% of sales on 61 million units, compared to Android at nearly 46% with 53 million tablets sold.

What’s fuelling sales these days? “Low-end, smaller screen” tablets, along with first-time buyers, Gartner says. Ironically, one of the companies that had pioneered that form factor and targeted newbies, Amazon, isn’t faring so well.

Interestingly, while many saw Amazon and its cut-price Kindle Fire as disruptors in the tablet space when the e-commerce giant first entered the market in 2011, it looks like the company has lost some steam. Sales were up by some 2 million to 9 million, but its overall market share declined to 4.8% from 6.6% in 2012.

Link to the rest at TechCrunch

If I was in Charge of Nook Media

14 February 2014

From Good Ereader:

The Barnes and Noble Nook division is one of the most longstanding and successful brands in the e-reader and tablet sector. The bookseller jumped into the eBook revolution in 2009 with an online store and their own flagship device. Their first few devices sold like wildfire, but sales have tapered off with each subsequent release. Nook Media has been losing money each quarter for over a year and most of their executives in charge of books, hardware and accessories have all left the company. What if they hired me to run the show? Here is my game plan to turn Nook around.

. . . .

The average Barnes and Noble bookstore is around 26,000 square-feet in size. The Nook retail area, where devices are showcased are normally 1,000 sq ft, and larger stores have 2,000 sq ft.

This is a solid amount of space to showcase the Nook Glowlight, Nook HD and Nook HD+, which is the current generation lineup. Not to mention accessories, such as cases, and screen protectors.

The Nook display section has no consistency in overall design and customer experience. The flagship Union Square location looks way better than the store in Las Vegas. Once you start going to more rural bookstores, in smaller markets the Nook display section lacks. I have walked into bookstores and saw nothing more than a wooden table, with a blue sheet and stuff piled all over it.

If I was in charge of Nook Retail I would create a blueprint and template that all stores would have to abide by. I would mandate that all Nook areas would be close to the front entrance and by the window. It would feature a clean white overall design, with vibrant color coded areas where you would find devices, accessories and a Nook Kiosk. Having street traffic seeing a cool, hi-tech area would prompt them to come in the store. It is important to build a consistent experience, walking into a big store in New York, would be the same as walking into one in Seattle.

. . . .

The average Barnes and Noble bookstore does not have an army of employes. I have witnessed that many in the store wear different hats, whether its inventory, cash, restocking or helping customers. The people in the Nook area, often are not dedicated and feature a revolving cadre of characters. I would mandate that every store location needs 3 trained people for the Nook area, two of which are full time and another that works when one the core people are sick, or on vacation. There would be regional trainers who would be responsible for each State, and would bring people into that State’s flagship store for a week of training. They need to be Nook Certified.

. . . .

Barnes and Noble has a line of accessories for their line of tablets and e-readers, none of which are really compelling. Sure you have the ubiquitous cases, screen protectors, charging cables and even a pair of Nook headphones. They need to solve this situation to make the Barnes and Noble accessories line, more modern and current.

. . . .

If there was one oportonity that Barnes and Noble is missing, more than anything else, is the synergy between Nook Press and their bookstores. Nook Press is the companies self-publishing program and is a direct follow-up to PUBIT! The platform itself pales in comparison to competitors programs like Amazon and Kobo. Heck, UK authors cannot even use Nook Press to publish in the US and UK.

If i was in charge of Nook Press and displaced Teresa Horner the first thing I would do is partner up with a service like Ingram Lightning Source. US authors would be able to self-publish books digitally and make them available for the retail stores to purchase. Ingram basically runs a giant print on demand system, where authors can have copies of their books printed, if someone places an order. This method proves to be quite popular with competitors.

. . . .

I have been following the entire eBook and e-reader industry since one year after the original Kindle came out. I have seen many major booksellers go bankrupt, some taking chances, some taking none at all. The most squandered opportunity that Barnes and Noble has missed in the last five years is getting self-published titles in their store, from their own authors. Barnes and Noble sorely needs a self-publishing super-star to carry the torch and be a walking banner for their services. They cant do that without Nook Press POD.

Link to the rest at Good Ereader

PG says one of the consequences of a monopoly or near-monopoly position in an industry is that the monopolist becomes fat and slow. Defending its traditional turf against interlopers always seems to be Job One.

Barnes & Noble is an excellent example. It should have been in an ideal position to take advantage of the ebook/ereader technology surge, but it blew that chance.

Another takeaway from the Barnes & Noble Nook story for PG is what it says about the value of retail spaces vs. ecommerce spaces.

At least in the Barnes & Noble stores PG visited during the early days of Nook, the Nook kiosks had prime spots – the first thing you saw when you walked in the front door – and were staffed by at least one person. This was retail space that was formerly occupied by tables covered with books or big stacks of books – displays for which big publishers pay a lot of money.

One would think that space would provide a powerful advantage for Barnes & Noble to grab a huge share of people who regularly purchased books as Nook customers, but it didn’t work. Space on Amazon’s front page devoted to promoting Kindles worked much better.

We’ll never know how Nook would have fared if Barnes & Noble had pursued a more intelligent strategy and executed better on components like The Nook Book Store and international distribution, but the bookstore’s prime real estate didn’t seem to provide a meaningful competitive advantage. If Kindle vs. Nook is not already a business school case study, PG suggests it will become one in the future.

Half of Britons now using a tablet

30 December 2013

From The Telegraph:

The Christmas leap in tablet computer sales means that half of Britons are now using them, following a flood of cheap devices on to the market.

Between 12m and 13m tablets have been sold in the UK this year, an increase of more than 50pc on 2012, according to research from Deloitte. This means that by the end of January, 50pc of Britons will own or have access to a tablet, up from 36pc in the summer.

In under four years, since the release of Apple’s iPad in 2010, the tablet has become one of Britain’s must-have products, and many retailers have counted on strong demand for them to improve sales during the lucrative Christmas period.

Deloitte said the tablet’s growth had been driven by the value end of the market, which had made the touch-screen devices available as children’s gifts and for those unwilling to pay for more expensive models.

. . . .

“Tablets have gained popularity with extraordinary speed, and manufacturers will have to work hard to stay on top of the evolution of the market,” Mr Lee said.

“There appear to be more users and use cases for tablets than many had imagined. Getting the balance of form, function and price right will likely be a moving target during 2014, especially at the lower end of the market,” he added.

Link to the rest at The Telegraph

Amazon says more than half of Christmas shoppers went mobile this year

30 December 2013


According to Amazon, more than half of this year’s Christmas shoppers placed their orders using a smartphone or tablet.

Amazon has revealed that during the 2013 holiday season – the busiest ever for the online retailer – more than half of Christmas shoppers placed their orders using mobile devices.

Traffic peaked on Cyber Monday – the Monday after the Thanksgiving weekend in the US – when over 36.8 million items were ordered worldwide, or 426 per second, the company announced on Thursday (26 December).

Between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday, customers ordered more than five toys per second from smartphones or tablets.

Link to the rest at

Amazon: 5 bold predictions for 2014

26 December 2013

From CNET:

Amazon spent 2013 attempting to wow us and, for the most part, succeeded.

This year saw the debut of Amazon’s Mayday customer service button – the marquee feature for its newest line of Kindle Fire tablets — the revival of the US Postal Service through Sunday delivery, and, of course, the frenzy of debate over autonomous flying robots serving as the next-generation of delivery men ahead of Cyber Monday.

Think Amazon out did itself in 2013? Well, get ready for even more eye-popping surprises in 2014.

Known for its willingness to play the long game, Amazon often goes through cycles of large investments before reaping the rewards, and 2014 will be another year when the company “percolates,” said NPD analyst Marshal Cohen.

“You can feel that they’re getting ready in a year or two to come out with some very big things,” he said.

. . . .

2. The Kindle, your tutor
Thanks to Mayday, your Kindle Fire can tell you how to change the brightness of your tablet or how to order an e-book. So why couldn’t it also teach your kids math?

If Amazon’s acquisition of TenMarks is any indication, the company may be looking to delve into education. TenMarks creates math practice programs and is a teaching tool. When Amazon purchased it in October, it said TenMarks would develop new education apps for Kindle tablets.

It’s not a huge stretch to see a potential marriage of TenMarks’ education resources and the Mayday service — perhaps a premium option that allows for tutors to help with math equations via one-sided video tutelage?

Crazy? Perhaps. But just crazy enough for Amazon? Certainly.

Couple that with Amazon’s newly released free-time features on a tablet designed for penny-pinching parents, and Amazon makes the Kindle the ideal children’s tablet.

. . . .

5. Amazon Prime goes mainstream
By 2014, Amazon will be daring its customers not to sign up for its premium Prime service.

Prime members already benefit from free two-day shipping and access to its video-streaming service and Kindle e-book lending library. On the non-Prime side, Amazon recently raised the minimum price for free shipping by $10 to $35. Expect the perks for Prime to get even more attractive in the coming year.

The next year will bring a rapid expansion of the company’s online grocery delivery service, AmazonFresh, which also means Amazon is making same-day delivery open to Amazon Prime customers. While online grocery delivery and same-day delivery is tricky business, it encourages customers to buy everything on Amazon.

If Amazon launches anything new — like a music-streaming service or a premium personal shopper service — you can bet Prime members will get unlimited access.

Link to the rest at CNET

One of PG’s offspring bought a Kindle Fire HDX and an iPad Mini for her offspring with the intent to return the one she liked the least. The iPad is going back in large part because of Kindle Free Time.

Under Kindle Free Time, for $2.99 per month, you get access to thousands of kid-safe books, apps and videos. Plus Amazon makes it easy to lock down the tablet to prevent precocious children from doing things their parents don’t think are a good idea.

The tablet magazine ship is sinking. Fast.

16 December 2013

From GigaOm:

 I was certainly not the first to proclaim the death of the tablet magazine, the now universally recognized and unequivocal data pointing to the steep decline of print-replica apps is becoming undeniable.

What’s even worse news for magazine publishers who have chosen either a PDF-based or Adobe InDesign-led “Plug-In” app solution in a race to cash in on Apple’s Newsstand is the damning evidence of Apple’s lack of support…and frankly, interest in the Newsstand app itself.

Once the “holy grail” for magazine publishers, promising front-and-center exposure for their periodicals, the Newsstand app in iOS 7 has become almost irrelevant.

As pointed out by Hamish Mckenzie from Pandodaily:

“…there is now no visual reminder within the Newsstand icon that there are publications inside, waiting to be read. On top of that, in iOS7 users can now hide the Newsstand icon inside a folder. The once-special treatment that Apple gave publishers in order to encourage the distribution of magazines to the iPhone and iPad has apparently vanished, at least in terms of visual prominence.”

. . . .

The Newsstand and tablet magazine honeymoon is over. Apple knows it. The industry knows it. And consumers have made it painfully clear for far too long.

Link to the rest at GigaOm

The Amazon Kindle Numbers That Jeff Bezos Must Really Care About

14 December 2013

From All Things D:

We all know that Amazon’s annual touting of its new Kindles as the best-selling Kindles ever has become laughable since the company doesn’t provide any sales figures to back up its claims.

But a recent analysis of survey data by research firm Consumer Intelligence Research Partners shows that maybe, just maybe, there are other Kindle-related figures that are just as critical to Amazon, if not more so.

First, at a high level, CIRP estimates that 20.5 million Kindles — e-readers and Kindle Fire tablets combined — are currently in use in the U.S., and that 40 percent of’s customers own one of the devices.

. . . .

Based on its research and analysis, CIRP estimates that Kindle owners spend $1,233 per year on Amazon compared to $790 per year for Amazon shoppers who don’t own one of the company’s e-readers or tablets. Kindle owners aren’t necessarily buying more at a shot, but are buying more frequently.

“Another way to look at Kindle Fire and Kindle e-Reader is as a portal to,” CIRP’s Mike Levin said in a statement. “Kindle Fire provides access to everything Amazon sells, while Kindle e-Reader has become the way that Amazon customers buy books, Amazon’s original product line.”

Link to the rest at All Things D

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