That quaint little Kindle bookshop that launched with about 80,000 titles exactly 44 months ago today reached an important selection benchmark today when it passed the threshold of 1 million titles. That includes about 4,000 titles that are currently available for pre-order.
(Calibre has provided a free revolutionary app that will save Kindle users serious money while allowing us to fetch and manage all kinds of free but high-quality Kindle-compatible content. For more about Calibre see chapters 6 and 8 of FREE: How to Get Millions of Free Books, Songs, Podcasts, Periodicals & Free eMail, Facebook, Twitter and Wireless Web With Your Amazon Kindle, Kindle 2, Kindle DX, Or Kindle for iPhone App)
http://bit.ly/KindleNationDaily in the Kindle Store
FREE: How to Get Millions of Free Books, Songs, Podcasts, Periodicals & Free eMail, Facebook, Twitter and Wireless Web With Your Amazon Kindle, Kindle 2, Kindle DX, Or Kindle for iPhone App By Stephen Windwalker of Kindle Nation Daily
Of course, nobody knows if any of the new blogs are gaining any traction, since — because of Amazon’s convenient 14-day free trial for all Kindle Store blogs and other periodicals — they won’t show up in publishers’ sales reports until at least 14 days after they go live. I can tell from my Amazon Associates report that a couple of hundred people followed the link in my New Kindle Blogs for Your Consideration post to check out the page for this blog, but that doesn’t tell me if any of them were moved to click for the trial once they got there. We’ll see. What we can tell — based on the fact that no Kindle blog ranks in the top 18,000 titles overall in the Kindle Store — is that nobody, not even Ariana, is living in the lovely world envisioned by the GeekMBA360 post to which I linked a few days back:
Let’s say that you can attract 5% of the overall Kindle user base, which is 50,000. The total monthly revenue from your blog would be $100,000. Amazon will get $70,000 while you get $30,000. You get paid at a rate of $0.6/user.
To put it another way, my considerable experience with the relationship between Kindle Store sales rankings and actual units sold says that there are fewer than a handful of all Kindle blogs that are currently averaging more than 1 or 2 sales per day. I wish I could put this more sweetly.
There are various reasons for this:
- On the way to becoming the upload society we may have forgotten, or left ourselves without sufficient time, to continue fulfilling our responsibilities as the download society. It’s just another wrinkle in that old curveball epitomized in the widely observed notion that we have more poets than poetry-readers.
- Blogs, they’re just not that into you. Blog reading isn’t nearly as big a deal as book reading for most people, or, more precisely, for Kindle owners.
- Then there’s the one that makes you say “Duh,” or, perhaps, if you are a Kindle blogger, “D’oh.” Blogs are free everywhere else but in the Kindle Store, and you can get them pushed to your Kindle via the services that work with RSS feeds and other aggregation processes. While I have tried to make the case that it can be convenient in various ways to have them pushed to your Kindle in something close to real time, it would be insane to think that people will beat down the doors of the Kindle Store to pay for something that is free everywhere else.
Maybe there’s one more thing that we as Kindle owners and readers can influence in a positive way. While it is true that the 14-day trial takes the financial risk out of checking out a blog in the Kindle Store before we invest 99 cents a month, that does not address the perhaps more significant risk that we might waste our valuable time reading stuff that we don’t care or need to read.
Unfortunately, there is little for us to go on in terms of the kind of reader feedback that often helps us connect with interesting or distinctive or simply very good work among books in their Amazon store incarnation. As of this morning when I took the above screen shot, as you can see, there were only 221 customer reviews for all of the 4,915 blogs in the Kindle Store. There’s a customer feedback system that is not working.
So, I suggest that we as Kindle Nation citizens might want to exercise a bit of civic responsibility rating and writing brief reviews of blogs on their Kindle Store pages when we have something to say about them. A couple of lines, or a couple of minutes, is really all it should take. You’ll find a link to read or write reviews near the top of any blog’s detail page, just below some pithy line such as: “The Kindling point for thousands of Amazon Kindle owners.”
Two days before Amazon’s big Kindle press conference on Monday in New York, and here is a quick summary to put things in perspective:
* If you have already placed an order for the Kindle, you will be at the head of the line for the updated version that will ship in February. If you select 1-day delivery ($3.99 with Amazon Prime), you will probably receive your Kindle between February 12 and February 25, but a slight further delay is possible for most recent orders because Amazon will probably be shipping over a quarter of a million Kindles this month. (During the past 24 hours Amazon has updated my projected receipt date to February 25, from a window that began on March 4).
* It looks increasingly like the “switch” from the backordered “Kindle 1” to the ready-to-ship “Kindle 2” will be seamless, with no price change, no change in ASIN, and possibly even no designation of model “1” or “2.” I had earlier reported my expectation of a 10 per cent price increase, but I will be happy to concede error on that one as Amazon figured out that it could make the entire “switch” more seamless if it did not have to get permission for an additional charge on the hundreds of thousands of Kindle backorders in the pipeline.
* While the primary focus for gadget heads may be form factor enhancements highlighted in the “leaked” pictures of the updated Kindle that have been showing up since October, those of us who actually own the Kindle will be more interested in software enhancements, such as content management folders, which will be rolled out Monday and transmitted wirelessly to all Kindles in the field over the course of this month in the form of a firmware version update.
* The most important Kindle “announcement” of February 2009 will probably turn out to have been a staffer’s tip that Amazon is “working on” apps that will allow users of devices such as the iPhone, the iPod Touch, and the Blackberry to buy books and other content instantly from the Kindle store.
* Before the end of 2009, the most important known Kindle metric will be the number of Kindle Store app downloads from Apple’s Apps Store. Say that three times fast.
Let’s plan to be in touch on Monday if you have a minute….
Yesterday Amazon let slip news that — for authors, publishers, and people who like to read on their cellphones — may potentially be every bit as big as anything the company will announce about the Kindle 2, 3, or 4 on February 9.
As suggested in my book last summer and in this January 30 post here and at my Amazon-hosted blog, the Kindle Store will soon begin selling its content to owners of devices such as the Blackberry, the iPhone, and the iPod Touch:
So, do we still call a device a potential “Kindle Killer” if millions of its owners can use it to buy books, newspapers, and magazines from the Kindle Store, with Amazon getting a 25 to 35 per cent cut? No, Amazon’s Kindle initiative has much less to do with any specific hardware device than with Amazon’s need — and apparent ability — to stay ahead of changing modalities in book and other content sales.
As I have written before: “the primary importance of the Kindle for Amazon lies in four things: it jumpstarts significant electronic book sales; it positions the books in the Kindle store as the primary source of e-reader content; it sets the bar higher than it had previously been set for form factor, feature set, and delivery mode for electronic books; and it gives Amazon a seat at the head of the table in shaping this area of book commerce going forward.” That seat just got placed on risers.
For all the snarky Applephiles and Amazonians who have mistakenly seen this as an either/or battle from the get-go, a word to the wise: we can all just get along. Meanwhile, every ereading device and ebook portal including the Kindle and the Kindle Store will, no doubt, continue to scramble to play nice with the potentially astounding free public domain catalog available through Google Books. Neither Amazon nor Apple has any need to monetize that activity, but it is essential that Google Books access be part of the feature set.