Amazon to sell Kindle through Currys, PC World
Advancing onto the high street
Dixons' stores are to sell Amazon's popular Kindle e-book reader.
Amazon already makes the Kindle - in both its Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi-plus-3G versions - available on the high street through John Lewis shops.
Like John Lewis, Dixons will only sell Kindles through PC World and Currys bricks'n'mortar outlets, not online.
Prices are the same, whoever you buy a Kindle from. The Wi-Fi model is £111, the 3G-equipped version £152.
So much for competition. ®
Ebook rip offs
There are 2 rip off with ebooks (nothing to do with the hardware or retailer)
1. The government charges VAT despite the green credentials of something that needs no trees to die and no diesel to distribute. Bonkers
2. Publishers like Penguin seem to be able to insist on a minimum price often higher than the paper version - banned on paper books - even though the books can't (yet) be loaned or given away or sold secondhand so are truly 1 buyer 1 reader thus increasing sales and the zero cost of printing (well they have to convert the file to a different format), warehousing, distribution and then the remaindering of unsold stock.
So write to your MP and ask why the government charges VAT on ebooks but not paper ones and why publishers can flout the ruling on the abolition of the Net Book Agreement.
Rip-offs subjective, anti-competitive practices factual
1. The point is taxes are used to encourage/discourage behaviour. I don't see the argument for taxing e-books and not paper books - I imagine the VAT-exemption is to encourage learning, plus there's the the added benefit of saving trees. Convenience is a poor argument for taxing it.
2. Publishers ARE fixing prices on Kindle. Amazon are not allowed to set the price as they would with anything else they sell. This seems to be abusing the market to push their own e-book formats, hence anti-competitive.
I don't have any issues with paying a fair price for the knowledge or enjoyment - I paid £23 for an e-book last night. Saved £8 on the hardback and didn't have to wait for stock to arrive.
For goodness sake
When will people realise that is not the case.
I have a Kindle, and have not paid for a single book on it. Any of the usual ebook places can provide free books - e.g. Gutenberg. Even Amazon themselves do many many free books. I can read PDF's on my, or use Calibre to convert websites and send hem to the Kindle. Works great.
It's a nice piece of kit, which DOES have DRM on the recent stuff you pay for (as do all ebooks). And I don't have a problem with that, after all, mines full of free stuff (e.g. Dickens, Homer, Milton).
Best feature of the Kindle?
Has to be the fact that all the books I buy for it take up zero bookshelf space. Some of mine are double-stacked, and I've still run out of both shelf space and walls to add further shelves to. I'll accept a few misplaced hyphens in exchange for not needing to extend my house.
Going the way of the music industry
The Kindle must be close to being sold at a loss leader price. A bit like inkjet printers - the money is made from selling the ink, or eBooks in this case.
However, there's a huge problem coming up in that once eBooks become ubiquitous, then the price of eBooks will plummet as they start to get pirated more widely. An eBook is quite a lot smaller than an MP3, and the dynamics will be the same. We already see, with the closing of many branches of Waterstones, that the days of mass-market, high-street dedicated bookstores are numbered, squashed by the same forces that hit music shops. Internet sales, electronic formats, supermarkets selling the most popular physical formats and pirated copies putting a ceiling on the prices that can be charged. What price a conscience for an eBook I wonder?
Convenience of carrying around a paper book stopped this before, now that Kindles and the like are a convenient alternative, this problem goes away.
Of course there will remain a market for specialist books, coffee-top books and the like, but the writing is surely on the wall for the mass market offerings.
Of course musicians have an advantage over authors - there is always the income from live performances. There is no equivalent in the literary market unless, suddenly, there's a splurge of popularity of paid-fore live readings in arenas...