Thursday, May 28, 2009

More Digital Oldies--This Time Kindle!

I had the conversation again yesterday. “I’m not really up on this stuff; isn’t it for younger people?” It reminded me of a recent article in Time magazine about the age of Kindle users. Guess what? They are on the older side! There are probably two reasons. The Kindle is expensive; $359 for the Kindle 2 and $489 for the larger screen Kindle DX. Second, they are used to read print content like books, newspapers, and magazines. Ad Age recently pointed out that “print is not aging well.” Ouch!

According to eMarketer (May 20, 2009), The device, first introduced in late 2007, accounted for approximately 10% of total North American book units sold in Q1 2009—or about 4 million out of the 38 million books sold. You can also subscribe to electronic content like blogs on the Kindle, all of which should make for happy reading.

But that’s not all. Amazon recently announced a Kindle app for the iPhone. It’s gotten mixed reviews, mostly because the screen of the iPhone is so much smaller than that of the Kindle. However, for those of those who don’t want to carry something larger, reading on the iPhone may present an attractive alternative.

In addition, there is also buzz about Amazon making a college version available with preloaded textbooks. As a textbook author (talk about a broken business model!), that’s long overdue. My Internet Marketing text is available with an e-book option bundled with the print text or as e-book alone. I don’t know what the sales breakdown is, but every time I ask a class I find that few, if any, of the students have activated the e-version. Why they prefer to carry around a print copy is beyond me. “Comfort level” is the best explanation I can think of because most of the things you can do with a print copy (highlighting, for example) is available on e-books. The other issue for college students has been the price of readers. Still, I’ve long felt that colleges had to make book readers the default distribution method for text books.

The iPhone app and the college version both suggest that the age of the readers of e-books could trend down over time. For all of us who believe in reading, that’s good news.

What does it mean about the future of “print” media? Will we consume traditional print content on our electronic readers? Probably. Will there be a way to monetize it? We haven’t found an effective way to do that on the web; why should it happen for electronic readers?

All this bodes well for content on the go, whatever your age. It doesn’t seem to offer strong hope for traditional print media, though. That’s still an industry in search of a savior—and I don’t think it’s a Kindle!


World internet summit said...

Wow preloade text books you gotta love the technology

Auto 1 said...

Hi mary,

I like your post, wow the technology sure has some great benefits...

Lose weight Quick said...

Hello mary,

great article you have written very informative i now know more about the kindle then i did before

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Hi thanks for the great read and the links to the different url's....