Amazon is calling its latest e-reader models the fastest-selling ever. More new generation Kindles and Kindle 3Gs were ordered during the first four weeks of availability than in a comparable time period following any other Kindle launch, the company said. Amazon also noted that more of the new e-readers were ordered on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk combined than any other product.
As usual, no specific sales numbers were reported, which inspired numerous snarky headlines, including TechFlash.com's "Amazon issues new data-free press release on Kindle sales" and PCWorld.com's "New Kindle is here, selling like an unspecified number of hotcakes."
In the New York Times, David Pogue reviewed the Kindle 3, noting that "it’s a little silly to compare the Kindle with the iPad, a full-blown computer with infinitely greater powers. Although it’s worth pointing out, just in case you were indeed considering the iPad primarily for its e-book features, that the Kindle’s catalog of 630,000 current books is 10 times the size of Apple’s. No, the Kindle’s real competition is the gaggle of extremely similar, rival e-book readers, all of which use the same E Ink screen technology. "
Pogue's final verdict: "Really, though, what makes the Kindle so successful isn’t what Amazon added to it; it’s what Amazon subtracted: size, weight and price. Nook’s two-screen setup makes it fussy and complicated. Sony’s additional screen layers make the E Ink less sharp. In the meantime, certain facts are unassailable: that the new Kindle offers the best E Ink screen, the fastest page turns, the smallest, lightest, thinnest body and the lowest price tag of any e-reader. It’s also the most refined and comfortable."
The Sharper Image has joined the e-reader parade with its full-color Literati, which will ship nationwide in October to more than 7,000 retail stores, including Bed Bath & Beyond, Best Buy, JC Penney, Kohl's and Macy's. The company said the Literati's retail price will be $159 "or less through rebates, special offers and promos."
"The majority of e-readers available today are either too expensive with too many features, or the manufacturer has slashed key functionality and overall device quality to lower the price," said Kirk McLean, co-founder of MerchSource, which designed and distributes the Literati under trademark license from the Sharper Image. "We designed the Literati from the inside out--starting with the bookstore--to give booklovers exactly what they wanted: a simple, dedicated device that lets them get right to the book." The Literati's bookstore will feature Kobo's e-book software.
"Are E-Books Worth the Money?" asked the Wall Street Journal in an article that offered "six money tips for pennywise book lovers" considering the purchase of an e-reader:
- Casual readers probably shouldn't bother.
- The books aren't as cheap as they should be.
- Savvy readers read the classics anyway.
- Be aware of the potential costs of buying a Kindle.
- Be aware of the costs of the rivals.
- And if you're thinking of buying a book reader--wait!
"In a rational market," the Journal predicted, "we should see big price cuts this fall, especially as the last of the old models go on sale. Of course, that's in a rational market. Let me know if you ever find one."
Bradley's Book Outlet, Pittsburgh, Pa., will open a bookstore at the Indiana Mall in Indiana, Pa. this fall, taking over a location formerly occupied by a Borders Express that closed last January, the Gazette reported, adding that Bradley's "already has opened three new western Pennsylvania outlets in Washington, Uniontown and West Mifflin this year. The Indiana outlet will bring the number to eight, doubling its retail operation. The other stores are in Pittsburgh."
Eve Beck, a regional manager for Bradley's, said the store may begin operations during the second or third week of September, with an offical opening planned for October 15.
Sherry Renosky, the mall's corporate marketing director, said, "We are very excited to bring a bookstore back to the Indiana market. We have had many customers requesting a bookstore, and we are happy we were able to fill the spot so quickly,''
During the 18th century, the "phrase 'reading revolution' was probably coined by German historian Rolf Engelsing," the Atlantic observed in its exploration of "10 Reading Revolutions Before E-Books."
A "book" by any other name. Facebook has filed suit against Teachbook.com, an online community for teachers that has not officially launched yet, for using the word "book" in its name, the Los Angeles Times reported.
"We've been sitting here scratching our heads for the last couple of days," said Greg Shrader, Teachbook's managing director. "We're trying to understand how Facebook, a multibillion-dollar company, feels this small enterprise in Chicago is any type of threat."
In a statement, Facebook said, "It's not that they are using 'book'--we have no complaint against Kelley Blue Book or others. However, there is already a well-known online network of people with 'book' in the brand name."
In a tribute to the visual appeal of empty space, the Inspiration Blog featured more than 40 "stunning minimalistic book covers" where the "style is often elegant, and uses icon design and simple photography and illustration on a regular basis."
Ten "underrated Canadian authors" were showcased in the National Post's Afterword blog, which said that "it’s important to bear in mind that there is a huge wealth of worthwhile literature being written in this country. Unfortunately, the vast majority of it flies under the radar due to limited marketing budgets, the increasingly poisonous blockbuster mentality that is infecting publishing, and an overwhelming number of books being published."
These notable authors, who "make reading a joy, not a chore, which is something sorely lacking from much of our fiction these days," are Bill Gaston, Clark Blaise, Caroline Adderson, Ray Smith, Lynn Coady, Douglas Glover, Russell Smith, Eric Ormsby, Diane Schoemperlen and Sharon English
Flavorwire "got hungry just looking at these cakes inspired by books."
Book trailer of the day: Fury: A Memoir by Koren Zailckas (Viking), which the author made with her husband.
Effective January 1 with the series launch, SmarterComics, the new
business, self-help and motivational graphic novel series from Writers
of the Round Table, will be distributed in the U.S. and to some
international markets by National Book Network. NBN will also distribute
other Writers of the Round Table Press books.
The first books include How to Master the Art of Selling
by Tom Hopkins, Shut Up, Stop Whining and Get a Life
by Larry Winget and Think and Grow Rich
by Napoleon Hill.