SAN FRANCISCO--A speedy launch of an iTunes cloud music service hasn't materialized the way many at the large record companies expected.
After Apple acquired Lala.com last December, the thinking among some music insiders was that Lala's streaming-music technology could easily be plugged into iTunes--once Apple obtained the proper music licenses. Lala.com, a music service launched in 2006 and shut down by Apple last May, possessed technology that scanned hard drives for existing music libraries and then enabled users to play back the same songs from Lala's servers via Web-connected devices.
But eight months after the … Read more
Recently, I sat down with Ian Freed, an Amazon vice president in charge of the Kindle, to get a sneak peek at the new Kindles and discuss e-books and the Kindle business in general. Naturally, a good portion of the conversation centered on the design and features of Amazon's new e-readers, which you can read about here. But we also chatted about the e-book industry and Amazon's Kindle business in general. Here's a look at some of the more interesting parts of the conversation. Feel free to post your own analysis in the comments section.
CNET: You've been talking a lot lately about the growth rate of Kindle sales. You said it tripled...
Freed: There's actually two triplings. One is the number of e-books sold in the first quarter of 2009 versus the first quarter of 2010. And then the other is after we dropped the price of the Kindle to $189, we saw a tripling of the growth rate year over year [of the device itself].
CNET: How much of the rate of growth on the e-book side is attributable to the iPad and getting your app on these other devices like the iPhone and iPad?
Freed: Excellent question. Some numbers we haven't released before...80 percent of Kindle books we sell are sold to Kindle owners. They may have a Kindle app on a phone or an iPad or Mac or PC, but they at least have a Kindle. So 20 percent do not. I think it's a combination of the health of both businesses. The device business continues to grow with a device [the second-generation Kindle] that's over a year old, and then the content is growing both with the device sales and independently with the apps. We see a lot of customers start with apps and buy a Kindle later.
We see others who've had a Kindle for a year and half and have an Android phone and they've started using the Android phone for Kindle in the last month or so.
CNET: Now that most publishers have shifted to the "agency model" and are setting their own prices, how have the higher prices on many e-books impacted sales?
Freed: Happy to answer that. We have definitely seen a shift. We have data for the last 15 years on books. And since some of the publishers have decided to price their e-book above $9.99, we've definitely seen a shift of customers going to e-books that are $9.99 or less. The good news for them is that the selection of those books is very dramatic. We have about 630,000 books that are not public domain titles and of those 510,000 are sold for $9.99 or less. Of The New York Times best-sellers, 80 of them are $9.99 or less. So customers are voting with their pocketbook... … Read more
MarketWatch has posted a short news item about how Connecticut's Attorney General Richard Blumenthal is investigating whether "e-book deals between Amazon.com and Apple and major book publishers may be anticompetitive."
"These agreements among publishers, Amazon, and Apple appear to have already resulted in uniform prices for many of the most popular e-books--potentially depriving consumers of competitive prices," Blumenthal said in statement.
Ironically, of course, Amazon did not want to enter into the current agreements but was forced to after four out of the five major publishers signed on with Apple and moved to an &… Read more
Natali can't make it on the show today because she's busy taking care of little Justin Junior, but Jill Schlesinger saves the day and joins us to answer some of your most pressing financial quandaries.
Our first order of business is figuring out how Jill can get 3,000 Twitter followers before the end of this year. She hasn't been on Twitter very long and already has 1,627 followers, but we're thinking a funny new profile picture could help increase her online presence. We know that all you 404 listeners are handy with the Photoshop, … Read more
Yes, the rumors are true.
Amazon on Wednesday officially unveiled a next-generation Kindle that is what many tech pundits thought it would be: smaller and lighter, with a better screen and some Wi-Fi thrown into the mix.
The new e-reader comes in a couple of flavors, one with both Wi-Fi and 3G wireless for $189, and a Wi-Fi-only version that costs $139, some $10 less than Barnes & Noble's Nook Wi-Fi. The new Kindles are available in graphite or white and ship on August 27, with Amazon taking pre-orders for both e-readers now.
On top of the more compact … Read more
If the Internet breaks, the Tribe of Seven's secret library cards will re-start it. Also: Running your fingers through Princess Leia's hair... mmmm. And: Toss your zombie cookies now! Special guest: Dr. Kiki!Subscribe: iTunes (MP3) | iTunes (320x180) | iTunes (640x360) | RSS (MP3) | RSS (320x180) | RSS (640x360)… Read more
Looking for the right gift for your favorite Facebook friend? A new service from the team of Amazon and Facebook can recommend the right products for shoppers by peeking at their Facebook profiles.
Launched as a beta on Monday, the new opt-in service will suggest gifts for your friends by checking out their favorite movies, music, books, and other items derived from their Facebook accounts. And if you're in the mood to buy something for yourself, Amazon also looks at your own Facebook profile to suggest products that might interest you.
You can try out the service by browsing … Read more