“Amazon Kindle is the Most Gifted Item Ever on Amazon.com On Christmas Day, for the First Time Ever, Customers Purchased More Kindle Books Than Physical Books
SEATTLE, Dec 26, 2009 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) today announced that Kindle has become the most gifted item in Amazon's history. On Christmas Day, for the first time ever, customers purchased more Kindle books than physical books. The Kindle Store now includes over 390,000 books and the largest selection of the most popular books people want to read, including New York Times Bestsellers and New Releases.
"We are grateful to our customers for making Kindle the most gifted item ever in our history," said Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com. "On behalf of Amazon.com employees around the world, we wish everyone happy holidays and happy reading!"
On Amazon's peak day, Dec. 14, 2009, customers ordered over 9.5 million items worldwide, which is a record-breaking 110 items per second.”
This Sunday article in the Washington Post addresses some of the publishing issues I have written about, i.e.: e-books, book prices, the industry ignoring what readers desire, and what writers want in regards to fair royalties. You can also add Print On Demand to this as e-books often have POD availability.
Here are some excerpts from the article:
E-books spark battle inside the publishing industry By Marion Maneker Washington Post Staff Writer Sunday, December 27, 2009
“The evolution of publishing from print to digital has caused a schism in the reading world. There are now two constituencies: readers (and writers) on the one hand, and the publishing world on the other. And they don't want to hear each other.”
“Readers want books that are plentiful and cheap, publishers want to preserve their profit, and authors want a larger share of revenue. The conflict has created a strident internecine battle inside the publishing industry.”
...”Publishers can no longer be vast containers of intellectual property distributed in paper form to bookstores, supermarkets and warehouse clubs. But they don't have to be: They can become highly selective distributors to bookstores, supermarkets and price clubs. That's the lesson of the television, music and movie businesses.”
“But if the publishers want a role in the e-books business, they'll need to get over it and get on with it, embracing lower-priced e-books with higher author royalties. That seems unlikely. Because it's now clear that publishers just don't want to listen to what their customers are telling them.”
Many authors are moving away from traditional publishing and going to self-publishing. This last month there was outrage in the publishing industry because Harlequin and another publisher now have a branch of their companies dealing in self-publishing.
Kevin Weiss is CEO of Author Solutions, the company who owns the self-publishing companies such as Exlibris, Author House, and iUniverse (who I have published several books with in 2000 and 2002, in addition to putting 12 of my late husband, Don Pendleton’s books back in print with their program in association with the Authors Guild, Inc.).
I’m not necessarily recommending an author choose to go the self publishing route without doing some research of the idea, but as I have written I have been upset by the attitude of publishers and many agents who believe a self-published author is not worthy of regular, traditional publishing and is not a professional. And I am also perturbed by the same attitude of author organizations, such as the Mystery Writers of America, who will not allow membership in the organization unless an author has been published by a company they consider to be a traditional publisher. I consider those attitudes to be elitist and unreasonable.
I must say I agree with what Kevin Weiss states in his video, and in my last blog I talked about Jeff Bezos’ Amazon and the Kindle Reader.
Change is happening in the industry and there is resistance. I doubt we’re going to go backwards so everybody might as well surrender to it instead of fighting it. It is time for change. And readers who are not spending $30 on a hardcover book should be giving publishers a hint. And millions spent on advances, especially celebrity advances, are not being recovered.
Jeff Bezos has always intrigued me with his innovative ideas and visionary approach to his business, Amazon.com, which he launched in 1994. I previously wrote about him and his company here.
When asked in a December, 2009 Newsweek article (by Daniel Lyons) about the success and broadening of his business, Jeff Bezos stated, “We learn whatever skills we need to service the customer. We build whatever technology we need to service the customer. The second thing is, we are inventors, so you won't see us focusing on "me too" areas. We like to go down unexplored alleys and see what's at the end. Sometimes they're dead ends. Sometimes they open up into broad avenues and we find something really exciting.
Of course his latest exciting adventure is the successful Kindle reader, but Kindle didn’t happen overnight according to Bezos. He said this about the development of the Kindle: “It's been on the market for two years, but we worked on it for three years in earnest before that. We talked about it for a year before that. We had to go hire people to build a hardware--engineering team to build the device. We had to acquire new skills. There's a tendency, I think, for executives to think that the right course of action is to stick to the knitting—stick with what you're good at. That may be a generally good rule, but the problem is the world changes out from under you if you're not constantly adding to your skill set.”
You see what I mean about a visionary attitude, and the guts to take risks and move forward?
I was somewhat surprised by the stats he gave on the success of the Kindle and his comment that he was “astonished” by the success of the Kindle. “Two years ago, none of us expected what has happened so far. It is [our] No. 1 bestselling product. It's the No. 1 most-wished-for product as measured by people putting it on their wish list. It's the No. 1 most-gifted item on Amazon. And I'm not just talking in electronics—that's true across all product categories. We've spent years working on our physical books business, and today, for titles that have a Kindle edition, Kindle book sales are 48 percent of the physical sales. That's up from 35 percent in May. The business is growing very quickly. This is not just a business for us. There is missionary zeal. We feel like Kindle is bigger than we are.”
Apparently Bezos believes that physical books are on their way out...although he admits he does not know how long that will take but they have had a five hundred year run. He stated, “Given how much change there has been everywhere else, what's remarkable is how stable the book has been for so long. But no technology, not even one as elegant as the book, lasts forever.”
I personally do not have a Kindle yet....maybe one day, but I am so interested because I am now selling 10 items through Kindle (fiction and nonfiction). I am making sales in the two to four months that my works have been available in that format. To hear that the Kindle book sales are nearly half of the Amazon book sales, sounds pretty good to me.
I’ve always get a kick out of Jeff Bezos’ humor and laughter. Maybe his attitude has helped him to succeed and laugh at the obstacles, ups and downs, and challenges along the way.
“The writer is always working from his own individual world view, whatever the subject, so an honest writer cannot conceal himself in the work no matter how hard he may try to do so.” ~Don Pendleton (1927–1995)
A friend asked me the other day if my new fictional character, Private Investigator, Catherine Winter, from my book, Shattered Lens, was modeled after anyone I know. My answer was, “Not really.”
Catherine Winter is a strong woman, dedicated to her work, trusting of her intuition, and has seen it all...horrific murders, corruption, the corporate evils, the drugs, illicit sex, and downfalls of well-known celebrities and politicians.
She’s in her early sixties, a Southern California Private Investigator who has been in the business for many years, working alongside her husband in their PI Agency. After he passed away seven years ago, she kept the business going and feels she couldn’t give up her investigative work and cannot even conceive of doing anything else.
She has said, “As long as arthritis doesn’t lock up my joints or cataracts don’t keep my eyes from hitting the bulls-eye with a .357 slug then my shingle will stay on my door—C. Winter, Private Investigator.”
She also said this: “In this business you try your best to harden yourself to looking death straight in the eye but every time you are forced to face it you realize how damn vulnerable each of us are.”
I like the fictional characters I put in my novels...even the bad guys I create. I am now writing a second Catherine Winter novel, and I never know what characters will pop in and want a role in the story.
My friend is the second person who has asked me recently about the characters in my books. The other friend asked if he was in my book, Shattered Lens. I laughed and told him he was not. He wondered if I put people I knew in my stories. Again I said, “Not really.”
But the real answer is the character or characters I create within my own mind and who find their way onto the pages of my books, may be nothing more than a spark of creation from my own view of life, or from pieces of others who may have come in and out of my life, whether it be in a passing glance, a momentary speck of passion, an irritation, a voice, a song, a smile, a frown, or even a word.
I also asked my male friend what he would like to be in my book--what kind of character? I failed to tell him I could envision him as a romantic lead, a hero, or a knight in shining armor astride a white stallion, galloping off into the sunset with the woman he has rescued.
But if he actually ends up in any of my books, he won’t recognize himself, that is, unless he notices the male character with a small dimple when he smiles, or a guy with a bit of a tease in his voice, or the tall, good looking man who wins the heart of the little kid, or the heart of a mistreated puppy.
But heck, if I gave him a bigger role than that it will ruin the mystery of it all. Won’t it?
In this last two months I have published two new books, Shattered Lens, Catherine Winter, Private Investigator and The Cosmic Breath: Metaphysical Essays of Don Pendleton, and I have also published several of our in-print books as Kindle Editions. All are available at Amazon, including the new ten Kindle editions for the Kindle Reader.
I read an article in the New York Times, E-Reading, in 2 Authors’ Eyes by Peter Wayner, after a Twitter reference to it by author, Joseph Finder one of the subjects of the article.
Joseph Finder, author of high tech thrillers, stated, “I read a lot of nonfiction, particularly for research, and since I read a lot when I travel, I like the convenience of being able to lug a huge pile of books in one slim device.”
He does make a good point here that for traveling it would really come in handy to use the Kindle or another brand e-book reader. But Finder also brought up the disadvantage of not having an index in nonfiction books, especially while doing research. It can be time consuming and frustrating trying to find particular information without an index.
Lee Child, also a best-selling author of thrillers, mentioned in the article how not having the actual physical book made one concentrate a little more on the actual text. Even though he seemed content with e-book readers, he mentioned that one company may become the dominant supplier of e-readers, but that could also include e-books.
It appears that could happen easily with Amazon and the Kindle. Having just published ten things to Amazon Kindle, I can see what the future may hold in that regard.
We now live in a world of electronics and the young are fully immerged in that world and as new advances in technology come along, e-books and e-reading are bound to become more the norm. We’ve already seen that happening more in these few years.
Literary Agent, Nathan Bransford did his annual poll this week on his blog, on e-books, and the results show the trend moving toward the acceptance of e-books.
The percentage of people who said you'd have to pry paper books out of their cold dead hands:
As long as they keep the font size on the e-readers adjustable for those of us over the hill, we may give up the paper books and the dust mites (I'm allergic to those little buggers that love old books) that go along with them, for a slick, thin, light-weight e-reader. I’m sure when prices come down, most of us will have one.
I read that Jeff Bezos’ Amazon.com is working on getting the Kindle in Europe. I’m sure it will happen soon. I believe they have it worked out for Canada now. As authors, that will broaden our readership.
So if you are one who has a Kindle or will be getting one for a Christmas gift, consider some of my fiction and nonfiction Kindle Editions, or the regular old fashioned print books. And there is also my e-courses and e-books that can be given as gifts. Those do not need an e-reader as they are downloadable as PDF files from my publisher. They’ve sold all over the world.