Increasing the pressure on e-reader prices, Amazon plans to introduce a less expensive Kindle next month. The Wall Street Journal
reported that CEO Jeff Bezos is "laying out a strategy to go 'mass market' with an inexpensive gadget designed to do just one thing: sell digital books from Amazon."
The new version will feature "a screen with increased gray-scale contrast, a battery that lasts for a month, and a slightly smaller size. It will come in two flavors: one with Wi-Fi and 3G Internet connections selling for $189, the other with Wi-Fi only for $139," the Journal
wrote, adding that the new models will begin shipping August 27.
"We developed this device for serious readers. At these price points, it may be much broader than that," said Bezos. "People will buy them for their kids. People won't share Kindles any more."Engadget
"had a chance to play with the device for a short while during a meeting with the company, and we can report that the Kindle is still very much the reading device you know and love (or hate... depending on your preferences). The build quality and materials used did seem slightly more polished than the previous version, and we really liked the new, more subtle rocker. We can also attest to screen refreshes and overall navigation feeling noticeably more responsive and snappy compared with the previous generation. Amazon was showing off a jacket accessory which will be made available at launch that includes a small, pull-out light for late-night reading sessions."
Bezos offered a glimpse into the near future for e-book sales during an interview with USA Today
: "I predict we will surpass paperback sales sometime in the next nine to 12 months. Sometime after that, we'll surpass the combination of paperback and hardcover. It stuns me. People forget that Kindle is only 33 months old."
On August 27 Amazon will launch a Kindle store in the United Kingdom. The Bookseller.com
reported that although the Kindle has been available internationally since last October, "up until now book buyers have had to buy books in U.S. dollars from Amazon.com, severely limiting the impact of the device in the U.K. Amazon is promising to have 400,000 Kindle editions in the store at the 'lowest prices,' but it has not divulged what the cost of bestsellers will be in the U.K.--something that will be a key concern to British publishers."
Andrew Wylie's Odyssey Editions deal with Amazon has provoked strong responses from the book trade, including the following statement in Bookselling This Week
from Oren Teicher, CEO of the American Booksellers Association:
"The issues sparked by evolving business models in the rapidly developing world of digital publishing are multifaceted and, at times, complex. However, from the perspective of independent booksellers one important reality is unchanged: Diminishing the availability of titles and narrowing the options for readers can only harm our society in the long run. That the Wylie agency has sought to distribute these works through a single retailer is bad for the book industry and bad for consumers. Books--in whatever format--are crucibles of ideas and unique expression, and we should be doing all that we can to expand, not constrict, readers' access to them."
A "minor fire" at the Tempest Book Shop, Waitsfield, Vt., "was reportedly set overnight on Monday and caused about $500 worth of damage. However investigators stopped short of calling it arson. They say it appears the blaze was set in a plastic garbage can near the front door," WCAX News
If the endless e-book debate in the media is driving you to drink, Stephanie Anderson--Bookavore
blogger and manager of WORD
, Brooklyn, N.Y.--suggested a creative way to channel all that frustration into an "e-books article drinking game" while confessing that "I think this is the only way I can read another one of these."
"Will e-books wipe out/kill/decimate/pulverize/HULKSMASH/angry verb real books?"--one drink
Any discussion of book world after 2020--one drink
--- The Little Read Book
, Wauwatosa, Wis., is celebrating its 25th anniversary this month, and owner Linda Burg told WauwatosaNow.com
that "for 25 years for the most part I've had a place that I love to get up and go to every day."
Like most indies, Burg has weathered competition from chains as well as the Internet: "I would keep an eye on them, but we were different. We couldn't offer the kind of sales they did, but customers couldn't find the kind of help that we provided."
This year marks the 60th anniversary for Kennedy Book Store
, Lexington, Ky., where "the same family that opened the doors in 1950 still oversees every aspect of the store's operations today," Business Lexington
Asked what his "survival tactics" have been in the current economy, owner Joe Kennedy said, "Continue to do the right thing. Treat people like family and exercise good business practices. Stay with the basic premise, which for us is more used books. It's not just Lexington anymore. With online, it's worldwide."---
Two publishing industry veterans have been elected to the board of the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression
. Roberta Rubin, owner of the Book Stall at Chestnut Court
Winetka, Ill.; and Patricia Johnson, executive v-p and editorial
director at Knopf, Pantheon and Schocken Books, were elected to
three-year terms, Bookselling This Week
ABFFE board members are Bonnie Ammer, formerly of Random House--who
served on the board for six years--and Betsy Burton of the King’s English Bookshop
, Salt Lake City, Utah, who was a board member for several years and is now serving on the ABA board.---
In an article headlined "The Amazonian Gorilla" and published by Inside Higher Ed
, Scott McLemee observed that his "ambivalence about Amazon seems a lot easier to manage now that the Golden Age of Impulse Buying is over. In 2007, at least half of my book-buying was a matter of snap decisions abetted by Visa. But the economic upheaval since then has broken me of this habit, and friends report much the same."
showcased British artist James Hopkins
, who "uses shelves and the things you put on them (like books! actual books!) to create his art. Try doing that with an e-book!"
The New York Times
examined some of the new multimedia books being released and noted that while the jury is still out on what to call them (with "amplified" and "enhanced" among the names currently in vogue), all "go beyond the simple black-and-white e-book that digitally mirrors its ink-and-paper predecessor. The new multimedia books use video that is integrated with text, and they are best read--and watched--on an iPad, the tablet device that has created vast possibilities for book publishers."
Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing has launched Loser/Queen
, an online serial YA novel by Jodi Lynn Anderson, in partnership with LivingSocial and sponsored by JC Penney.
Teens can read the first few chapters and vote on both the course of the story and the book's cover art. New chapters and invitations to vote will occur each Monday through September 13, when Loser/Queen
will be available online from beginning to end for only one more week. After September 20, teens will have to wait for the paperback and e-book editions, which will be released December 21.
"It was a chance to create something really new... the interactive elements, getting the chance to involve readers in deciding on where the story will go," said Anderson. "It's been an exciting, creative process."
Congratulations to Dominique Raccah, publisher and CEO of Sourcebooks, who has won the 2010 Woman of Vision Award, which honors "groundbreaking, inspirational women who have made a difference in Chicago's business community" and is sponsored by the Chicago law firm of Arnstein & Lehr.
Raccah will be presented with the award at a luncheon on August 5 in Chicago. Award presenter Cynde Hirschtick Munzer lauded Raccah for "having built her own publishing house from the ground up. Dominique's risk taking, fierce determination and independent vision have grown Sourcebooks into the largest woman-owned trade book publisher in America."
Clare Peeters has been promoted to v-p, corporate strategy and
business development, at Perseus Books. She has been v-p, business
operations, and joined the company in 2004.