Edward Greaves (temporus) wrote,
Edward Greaves
temporus

Interesting Kindle news.

So, two quite interesting things revealed recently in regards to the Kindle.  One is the fact that the K2 is due for an update soon.  So if you've got one, sometime this month, you should get it.  Most important thing in this entire update: ability to organize your collections.  Finally!  (More details here.)  Unfortunately, this is not a release for the K1, so those of us still using a K1, sadly out of luck.   However, there is word out there that Amazon will be providing this feature for K1s, so there will, hopefully, be an update for the K1 sometime in the "near" future.  As an aside, the Kindle for PC app also got a recent upgrade.  Some slight improvements.  Seems a tad faster, and more options for reading.  (Black text on white background, white text on black background, sepia tones, and an ability to control the brightness.)  Nice bits, but doesn't change my general opinion that the PC app is just on the OK side, not so good as the actual device or the iPhone/Pad app.

So clearly, Amazon is under the gun, and working hard to get these apps up to speed.  I mean, we're at one month post iPad now, right?  So, yeah, Amazon's got to work to keep things positive in their court.  On the other hand, it's probably not helping their PR much that they are having some fights with Penguin group over Kindle editions.  Right now, you still can't get Jim Butcher's latest novel in Kindle format (in the USA) and in response, Amazon is selling the hardcover for the price it wanted to sell the ebook.  I'd call if funny, but in reality, it's just the kind of frustration that consumers hate to see: two big corporations bickering with the consumers losing out no matter which way the penny falls. 

Last little bit here, was a little revelation by Sheila Williams, editor of Asimov's, that they have approximately 4,000 Kindle subscribers.  All I can say about that is BINGO.  That's exactly what I was talking about when I said the SF &F magazines need to get out some Kindle editions, and reap some of that benefit.  Which I think was good advice, however, it appears, from what several respected editors are recently telling me that there are backend issues from the Amazon-side preventing them from being able to provide their magazines as Kindle Magazines.  Several have recently begun handling them as "books" from a Kindle POV.  I think its a good effort on their part to try and make things happen in any fashion that they can.  However, the problem as I see it, is that the steady income stream I'd envisioned for such magazines isn't likely to be as straightforward.  Instead of turning the millions of Kindle owners into potential subscribers in a literal sense, they are instead forced back to a "newsstand" approach where they've got to get their wares out on the "racks" where they hope to attract each individual buyer every single month without fail.  That's going to be more of a challenge than they might want, and I suspect that the return on investment there will be comparably smaller than if they could get into the official Magazine list.  The benefits of not being a magazine subscription do have some compensating factors.  For example, I cannot share my Asimov's subscription with my wife.  It's locked down to my Kindle.  If I saw a story I thought she'd really want to read, I'd have to swap with her.  Further, if I should trade in my K1 at some future point, I might lose my "back issues" of Asimov's.  I know I could transfer the live subscription to a different device, but not so sure that I can read the back issues elsewhere.   At least with the issues I've picked up in "book format" I can share them with the wife, or to other devices, etc.  A small bit of silver lining for the customer. 

Here's a small list of SF & F magazines you can get in Kindle format, but not as "subscriptions.

Clarkesworld
Realms of Fantasy
Beneath Ceaseless Skies
Fantasy Magazine

I'll happily add others if folks can point them out to me.

Now of course, you can buy other magazines in PDF format, or even PRC/MOBI format, and therefore would be able to read them on a Kindle.  But those you have to go out and look for, and I think that cuts down significantly on the potential sales.
Tags: ebooks, kindle, magazines
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