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Soaring Pre-Order Sales Suggest Japan is Ready for Its Own Kindle!

Related post: Kindle Nation Spreads to Japan

Thanks to my excellent Japanese language translator Dr. Akira Kurahone for an early morning email that pointed out this link, partially in English, for pre-orders to the paperback version of Dr. Kurahone’s Japanese translation of my book The Complete User’s Guide to the Amazing Amazon Kindle 2.

The book is due for release this coming Thursday and has already jumped into the top 1% of all titles on Amazon.co.jp’s sales rankings and is the #2 title on the bestseller list among 1,267 offerings from my Japanese publisher Nikkei Business Publications:

Now all we need is a Japanese language Kindle!

Kindle Nation Spreads to Japan

I’m happy to report that Kindle Nation citizens who read Japanese will soon be able to read my book The Complete User’s Guide to the Amazing Amazon Kindle 2 in a Japanese translation.

Both Amazon.co.jp and my Japanese publisher, Tokyo-based Nikkei Business Publications, have begun accepting pre-orders for the book’s Japanese translation, which will be released in a 240-page paperback May 20, 2010 at a retail price of 1,890 yen.

The Japanese edition, translated earlier this year by Dr. Akira Kurabone, combines material from both of my Kindle guides. Not surprisingly, its pre-orders are already outselling the English-language editions of several of my books that are available on Amazon’s Japan-based website. I am very grateful to Dr. Kurahone for his fine work on this project as well as to Mr. Kaori Shibayama of Tokyo’s The English Agency, my literary agent for the project.

Interested readers can pre-order the Japanese-language paperback either from Amazon.co.jp or from the publisher:

In addition to the paperback edition, Nikkei Business Publications will soon offer a free ebook excerpt of about 40 pages of the Japanese translation directly from its website. This excerpt will be compatible with other ebook reading environments, since the current Kindle models are not capable of rendering the Japanese alphabet.

Amazon has not disclosed specific plans or timetables for the launch of a Japanese language Kindle and a Japan-based Kindle store and reading environment, but there has been plenty of discussion of this inevitable development both here and among Japanese publishers. A Kindle-compatible edition of Dr. Kurabone’s translation of my book is anticipated when the Kindle platform is ready.

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Around the Kindlesphere, April 29, 2010: Non-Freebie Bestsellers, Faith-Based Freebies, Prices at the Time of Paperback Release, Brisk Online Sales, Kindle Rising in the Land of the Rising Sun?

By Stephen Windwalker, Editor of Kindle Nation Daily

© Kindle Nation Daily 2010
Not for nothing, but from Publisher’s Marketplace via The Independent, here are the top ten bestselling non-freebie books in the Kindle Store for the week ended April 27, 2010:

1. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo – Stieg Larsson (2=position last week)
2. Caught – Harlan Coben (1)
3. The Girl Who Played With Fire – Stieg Larsson (3)
4. House Rules – Jodi Picoult (4)
5. Deception – Jonathan Kellerman (9)
6. The Help – Kathryn Stockett (6)
7. Every Last One – Anna Quindlen (new)
8. Deliver Us From Evil(re-entry) David Baldacci
9. Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand – Helen Simonson (8)
10. The Shadow of Your Smile – Mary Higgins Clark (7)

Meanwhile, it’s time to  clean out the top drawer of my desk here in the corner office at Kindle Nation headquarters….

  • Speaking of freebies and non-freebies, I’ve noted here a few times my anecdotal sense that religious publishers seem to have a passkey to the portals through which ebooks are offered free in the Kindle Store, but I have resisted drawing any harsh conclusions since I had not taken the time to assemble any real evidence. So I appreciate the rigor that Bufo Calvin has brought to a post at his I Love My Kindle blog, “Onward Christian Freebies.” Calvin drilled down on the breakdown of the 59 free promotional books in the Kindle Store a few days ago. “When I analyzed the books I came up with 41 from known faith-based publishers, 18 from other publishers,” he wrote. So, not to draw conclusions, but what’s up with that, Amazon? I mean, I’ve downloaded and occasionally even reviewed (positively) books from faith-based publishers before, and I have nothing in the world against them. I am fully prepared to grant the possibility that there may not be a level playing field when it comes to salvation, but I — and many other citizens of Kindle Nation — have called in the past for parity in the feature and pricing offerings available to publishers large and small, and it’s about time Amazon put this in place. Any publisher that agrees to play generally within Amazon’s preferred Kindle Store pricing framework of $2.99 to $9.99 ought to have equal access to a “dashboard” option of offering certain titles, up to a set percentage of that publisher’s titles, at a zero-price promotion for a limited and specified period of time. Treat us all the same, Amazon, and perhaps we’ll all get to the Promised Land together!  
  • And speaking of Kindle Store bestsellers, I noticed today that Pat Conroy’s novel South of Broad, one of the top non-freebies in the Kindle Store during the late Summer and Fall of 2009, is climbing the Kindle sales-rank ladder again as public awareness is stimulated due to the marketing of its paperback edition, which will be released next Tuesday, May 4. Years ago Herman Raucher’s film adaptation of The Great Santini (with Duvall and Danner) drove me to buy and read the book. I’ve been a multimedia Conroy consumer ever since, and in August I purchased both the Kindle and Audible.com versions of South of Broad. I won’t be buying the paperback next week, even at Amazon’s discounted price, but I do find it interesting to note that, by abstaining from other publishers’ collusive agency price-fixing model and allowing Amazon to put its unparalleled multi-format pricing experience to work on behalf of all, Conroy’s publisher (the Nan A. Talese imprint falls under Doubleday’s umbrella, and thus under Random House) is maximizing brisk online sales in four important formats. The hardcover is currently ranked #1,896 in Amazon’s main bookstore with its price discounted from $29.95 to $19.77, pre-orders of the paperback are at #760 with a price discounted from $16 to $10.88, the $9.99 Kindle Edition moved from about #500 to about #400 in the past 24 hours, and the unabridged Kindle-compatible Audible.com version is, I’m sure, still selling a few copies with a price discounted from $31.50 to $23.63. For Mr. Conroy, life is pretty good, and all the better because he’s not published by MacMillan, Hachette, Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins, or Penguin/Pearson, the five agency model price fixers.
  • Speaking of brisk online sales, someone bought a Kindle yesterday after visiting Kindle Nation Daily and clicking on a link to Amazon. This has happened five times this month, and since Amazon sends $25.90 to Kindle Nation Daily two or three months after each such occurrence (yep, that was a disclosure), it looks like I will be in good shape to pay the various monthly fees associated with Kindle Nation Daily in July. So, thank you! And it appears that my sales are just the tip of the iceberg for Amazon, since I see that as of this morning the Kindle is still Amazon’s #1 selling electronics item, and Amazon said in a release earlier this week that in fact the Kindle remains the #1 selling item, period, for Amazon. Other products worth noting among Amazon’s top 25 in Electronics as of this morning are the Kindle DX at #7, iPod Touch models at #2, #3, and #19, other iPods at #14 and #15, and an Apple mouse at #24. Among Amazon’s top 25 in laptops are iPad models (offered by third-party sellers at premium prices) at #1, #2, and #4, and these models also rank #12, #23, and #74 among Amazon’s top 100 in computers, where Apple is additionally represented by 8 Mac models in the top 40.
  • Finally, I’m sure that folks who understand the 21st century innovation of “cloud computing” far better than I would be quick to tell me that it would be a huge stretch to link this news release from Amazon yesterday to global Kindle expansion, but I’m not so sure. Amazon’s headline reads: Amazon Web Services Launches Asia Pacific Region for Its Cloud Computing Platform; Cloud pioneer now offers its suite of web services from new Singapore datacenters to serve customers desiring an Asia Pacific presence, and you can click on the title to read the entire release. After all, don’t clouds often bring rain? Perhaps I am out of my depth here, but Bloomberg Business Week did have an intriguing story last week about talks between Amazon and Kodansha ahead of a possible in-country Japanese language Kindle launch, and I’m paying close attention to all the tidbits I can find about Amazon actually allowing the Kindle to establish country-by-country international roots for three reasons: (1) the number of Kindle Nation readers beyond U.S. borders continues to grow dramatically; (2) it’s potential news; and ( 3) I have a small vested interest, in that my Asian publisher (Nikkei BP) is releasing its Japanese translation of my book The Complete User’s Guide To the Amazing Amazon Kindle in paperback in May and wants to follow up with a Kindle edition as soon as Amazon offers a Japanese-language Kindle platform.

A boy can dream, whether he’s Ash on a Pokemon quest in Japan or an author in Arlington on a quest for first-mover status in the Japanese Kindlesphere.

Is It a Kindle World? 28 Million EBook Readers Projected by 2013

We all know that a picture is worth 1,000 words, even in this economy. But are charts like these worth 28 million Kindles?

Thanks to David Rothman’s heads up at
TeleRead, they come tied to a juicy tidbit of Kindle projection from a pretty credible source:

The well-respected and extremely popular Tech-On blog (Tech and Industry Analysis from Asia, based in Japan, with a current Alexa traffic rank of 1,007) has a cover story today projecting a worldwide installed base of 28.6 million Kindles and other ebook readers within four years:

A number of promising proposals are popping up in the eBook market, almost as if it remains unaffected by the worldwide economic downturn that began in the second half of 2008. For example, the quantity of eBook readers shipped by companies like Amazon.com and Sony has soared from the end of 2008 through 2009. And right in parallel with that growth has been significant growth in the scale of the eBook content market, also from the second half of 2008.

Growth forecasts for the eBook market are rosy, too. According to a recent report from survey company In-Stat of the US, total global shipments of dedicated eBook readers will hit 28.6 million units in 2013 (Fig 1b). Considering that 2008 shipments were only about one million units, this represents a 30-fold increase in only five years.

And here I will add a few juicy projections of my own:

  1. About 20% of those 28 million ebook readers will be Kindles.
  2. The 20 million other ebook readers will not spell problematic competition for the Kindle, because the vast majority of them, by the end of 2013, will come with Kindle apps or some other kind of key to the front doors of Kindle Stores in half a dozen of the world’s most populous markets, er, nations.
  3. In addition to 28 million ebook readers, there will be at least twice that many other mobile devices (iPhones, iPod Touches, iPads, netbooks, Blackberries, and Swiss army knives?) running Kindle-compatibility apps.