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Results from April’s 1st-Ever Kindle Nation Citizen Survey

Over 1,200 subscribers and other e-book enthusiasts have participated in April’s first-ever Kindle Nation Citizen Survey, and the results provide fascinating insights into who just who is participating in the e-book revolution and what we think the issues and the future of e-reading. The survey will remain open through April, so you can still click here to participate if you have not done so already, but you can also check the current results here. Once the survey is closed we will summarize the results here in Kindle Nation and share the summary with Amazon’s Kindle Group.

Where Do the Citizens of Kindle Nation Stand on Text-to-Speech, Digital Rights Management, and the $9.99+ Boycott?

Early Results from the First Kindle Nation Citizen Survey

(This post first appeared in the free Kindle Nation weekly email newsletter on April 13, 2009).

Over a thousand Kindle Nation citizens have exercised their citizenship rights during the past week by participating in the first ever Kindle Nation Citizen Survey. The survey will remain open throughout the month of April, and you can still participate by clicking here, but that won’t keep us from sharing some response tidbits with you.

First, let’s take a look at where the Nation stands on three controversies that are now live in the ebook world. I wasn’t attempting to “poll” in the traditional sense so much as to measure interest, so I provided the following choices and got the following result:

With which, if any, of these statements do you agree? (Choose as many as you wish. Please use the comment section to further describe your views or concerns).

1. I believe that it is important for Amazon to remove Digital Rights Management (DRM) from titles in the Kindle Store.

367 33.8 %

2. I believe that it is important for Amazon to maintain Digital Rights Management (DRM) for titles in the Kindle Store.

87 8.0 %

3. The text-to-speech feature on the Kindle 2 is important to me and should be maintained on as many titles as possible.

442 40.8 %

4. I will consider switching to another e-reader in the future if Amazon does not remove DRM from Kindle Store offerings.

81 7.4 %

5. I am concerned that Amazon may be developing a monopoly over digital books.

107 9.8 %

6. I would consider boycotting Kindle books priced above $9.99.

359 33.1 %

7. I’ll make my own decisions about which e-books are worth more than $9.99 to me.

723 66.7 %

Totals 1083 100%

Now for a bit of analysis and follow-up.

DRM. The only real yes vs. no faceoffs under this question came on the DRM question and the $9.99 price boycott, and participants have weighed in with a very strong 367 to 87 against DRM. Of the 81 respondents who said they might switch to another e-reader over the DRM issue, 72 had already taken position 1; so the real vote against DRM stands at 376 to 87. However, this level of response also makes it clear that a very large number of respondents (over 600) don’t know or don’t care about DRM. My guess is that “don’t know” has an edge here, and so I offer some useful Teleread links on the issue and the recently developed anti-DRM campaign, as well as another article in this newsletter:

DRM: A TeleRead primer by Chris Meadows

A Campaign to Organize Against DRM

drmfree tag campaign starts on Amazon: Help identify safer-to-own books and other items!

drmfree tag campaign on Amazon picks up steam: Endorsed by Cory Doctorow and home-paged at MobileRead. More tips, such as how to create Kindle books untainted by DRM.

Not everyone will care about DRM. But if you are buying books from the Kindle Store with the expectation that you will always own those books and be able to use them in any non-commercial way that does not violate copyright, the DRM issue may be more important to you than you yet realize.

The $9.99 Price Boycott. Two things really jumped out at me on this one. One (which exposes the fact that it is not exactly a clear faceoff) is that there has been a very high level of participation: even after subtracting the 105 people who (and this is perfectly plausible) selected both statements #6 and #7, 977 out of 1083 survey respondents (90%) weighed in on the price boycott issues. This confirms for me that, especially in our current economic circumstances, Kindle owners care deeply about price, but also understand its complexities and, in most cases, prize the access to content that the Kindle gives them. To learn more about the nascent price boycott, see this article. And the fact that fewer than 40% of the respondents who did weigh in support the boycott is also reflected in other data, such as the fact that, this morning when I checked, 5 of the top 10 titles on the Kindle Movers and Shakers bestselling (or relative velocity) list had Kindle prices over $14.

Stay tuned for more information from the Kindle Nation Citizen Survey throughout the month of April. And please participate if you haven’t done so already!

(This post first appeared in the free Kindle Nation weekly email newsletter on April 13, 2009).

Kindle Nation – Volume 1, Number 1

Good morning Kindlers!

So much has been going in the world of the Amazon Kindle that I have decided to begin trying to condense news and developments that I want to share with you in a weekly “Kindle Nation” email newsletter. You will receive this if you have signed up in the past for my updates or links, or if you have sent me a “subscribe to Kindle Nation” email, but you can opt out easily just by sending an email with “unsubscribe” in the subject line to KindleNation@gmail.com. I can promise that the weekly newsletter will be brief (never more than 1,000 words), simple in format, and aimed at helping Kindle owners to get more out of their Kindles, solve irksome little problems, and keep up to date with new Kindle developments and fresh Kindle content.

I’m going to try to focus on 5 or 6 nuggets a week, and here’s the lineup for Kindle Nation – Volume 1, Number 1:

1. Thousands of free books now in the Kindle Store, and an easy way to organize your search
2. Kindle Gift Cards
3. Countdown to the Kindle 2.0: 7 Days
4. Newly Streamlined Kindle Home Page
5. Here’s a Fun and Timely Read

So, without further ado:

1. Thousands of free books now in the Kindle Store, and an easy way to organize your search

Last week Amazon added over 7,000 free books to the Kindle Store. Although they are public domain titles previously available through Project Gutenberg and elsewhere, this is an important step and a sign of things to come as Amazon makes content deals along the way toward Jeff Bezos’ stated long-term goal of giving Kindle owners access to “every book ever printed.” The downside for some Kindle owners is that, temporarily, this made it harder to find Kindle titles that are being offered free due to a zero-price promotion. Not to worry. With a tip of the cap to Karen in the Kindle Korner community, I am happy to be able to provide this link that places the most popular zero-price titles first in a Kindle Store search: Just click on Search Free Promotional Content in the Kindle Store or paste http://tinyurl.com/SearchFreeKindleContent into your browser.

2. Kindle Gift Cards

There’s nothing revolutionary here, but it is a nice convenience. Here’s the scoop: Something New for Kindle Purchases: The Amazon Kindle Gift Card!

3. Countdown to the Kindle 2.0: 7 Days

By now you have heard from me and elsewhere about the Kindle 2.0. To recap, here’s the story on Amazon’s planned February 9 press conference, hosted by Jeff Bezos, at New York’s Morgan Library. And here’s my experience with Amazon Customer Service, which makes me very confident that Amazon will soon begin offering the Kindle 2.0 to customers who are waiting in line with existing Kindle backorders.

If you have read my Kindle Guide, you know that I’ve already had a lot to say about what I think should be, and will be, the features of the Kindle 2.0. So I am not going to burden the record with more of the same, except to say that it is critical that Amazon provide as many as possible of these features to existing Kindle owners with a firmware update via the Whispernet. And please believe me when I say that, while I understand the interest of many of us, myself included, in upgrading to the new Kindle, I am not recommending or suggesting to anyone that they throw their first Kindles to the curb and buy something new.

But if you do want to place a Kindle order so that you will fix your place in line for the Kindle 2.0, here’s a link to place your order.

4. Newly Streamlined Kindle Home Page

If you haven’t checked out my Kindle Home Page website lately, a natural consequence of the work I am doing to prepare the next Kindle guide is that the website has been streamlined and spruced up a bit for your covenience.

5. Here’s a Fun and Timely Read

Whether you are a boomer who knows all the words to “Peggy Sue” or tweener who would like to learn about the lives of the musicians who came (long) before Green Day or the Jonas Brothers, you may be interested in a new Kindle exclusive from author Staton Rabin: OH BOY! The Life and Music of Rock ‘n’ Roll Pioneer Buddy Holly. According to my friend Len Edgerly over at the Kindle Chronicles podcast, it reads well for those from 9 to, well, somewhat older.

Okay, that’s a wrap. Please feel free to share this with your friends and fellow Kindlers, and encourage them to subscribe by sending an email with “subscribe” in the subject line to KindleNation@gmail.com. If you are already receiving it, you don’t need to subscribe unless you want to give me an address change.

Stephen Windwalker
Kindle Home Page website
Facebook: http://tinyurl.com/WindwalkerFB
Amazon Author Page: http://tinyurl.com/Windwalker-Amazon