July 29th, 2010

How long until kindle overtakes paperbacks?

Here's what one man says.


"I predict we will surpass paperback sales sometime in the next nine to 12 months. Sometime after that, we'll surpass the combination of paperback and hardcover. It stuns me. People forget that Kindle is only 33 months old."

On the one hand, he has the data. On the other hand, he presumably has some financial incentives as well. I guess we'll find out if that estimate is right in...about nine to 12 months.

fun with numbers

From _The Hundred Year Diet_:

"Exercising was said to be useless, since it was purported to be scientific fact that a person would have to walk at least 30 miles to lose a pound. The converse, that walking 1 mile a day for 30 days would keep a pound away, was for the moment conveniently ignored. Time magazine quoted a physician at an AMA meeting in Chicago as stating that to lose a pound, you would have to climb the Washington Monument 48 times or do 2400 pushups. What was the point?"

There are a variety of things that could be done with these sentences. I'm not going to get into whether or not there really was a physician who said that at the AMA meeting.

Strictly speaking, I don't think that converse means what the author used it to mean. More or less like I don't think the NPR author meant "exponentially" in its strict sense a few days ago. Whatever.

The author says "purported to be a scientific fact" that 30 miles = a pound worth of calories. Purported is technically correct in the sense that that's what people were saying but 30 (flat and a relatively good surface) miles really _would_ take off about a pound. Then she _does not_ say "purported" or "alleged" or "was believed to be" when she quotes the AMA meeting attendee saying 48 times up the obelisk = a pound. Which _it does not_. As near as I can tell, 48 times _up_ the obelisk would = a pound and a half or thereabouts. 48 times _down_ the obelisk would equal about half that -- call it three quarters. 48 times up and down (since you can't really repeat one direction any other way) would equal over two pounds but probably less than three, assuming you kept level hydration throughout the process. Which would be tricky.

I sort of wonder about an author writing about diets that uses purported and converse and doesn't point out the suspiciousness of that obelisk calculation. Just because you're writing history doesn't give you any excuse for sloppy writing or innumeracy.

let's say you release a product in August

Specifically, you make it available to order at the end of July, delivered end of August. A product which is part of a recognizable line of products, so potential customers are already familiar with the interface. Would you call that release aimed at the Christmas season?


The not-overwhelmingly-bright but equally not-on-summer-vacation Ms. Miller at the New York Times characterizes the latest version of the kindle as:

"By firing another shot in an e-reader price war leading up to the year-end holiday shopping season"

This, despite a Bezos remark in the article to the effect that:

"“At $139, if you’re going to read by the pool, some people might spend more than that on a swimsuit and sunglasses,” Mr. Bezos said."

Mr. Bezos is being pretty mid-market here, saying $139 for the swimsuit _and_ sunglasses. Upmarket would have spent at least that on either.

I wouldn't call an August release of anything aimed at the holiday season. I would, in fact, be thinking that maybe it was aimed at back-to-school, with a bit of a slip. I wouldn't be the only one thinking that way.


or their preference:


This blogger (at a site devoted to consumer finance in an entertaining sort of way) points out that,

"Both models are available to pre-order and will be released on August 27th just in time for the start of school."


"Alongside the new Kindle, Amazon is releasing a Kindle case with a built in light that runs off the Kindle's battery so that you can read at night without bothering a roommate."

"The store contains more than half a million books for $9.99 or less and 1.8 million free, out=of=copyright books, which students may find tucked into their syllabi come fall. The Kindle also offers access to certain textbooks as well as newspaper and magazine subscriptions. Users can also upload their own pdf files to the device to handle reading assignments posted to course websites."

It's almost like Mr. Smith has really thought about this. And he's not the only one:


"Amazon is making the Kindle available in time for the back-to-school shopping season."

Mr. Gonsalves said little more of a student, school or parent of student nature, however.

Here's another article at Fast Company:


"which puts it right at the top end of many folks impulse-buy bracket, particularly if you're talking about gifts, or the back-to-school purchasing period."

What is conspicuously missing in all of these articles is sort of interesting all by itself. Yes, the cheap new kindle is a WiFi kindle -- no 3G on that one. And there are plenty of WiFi readers out there already, notably the Nook, which is $10 more than the point Amazon hit with the new one. Why is no one pointing out the absolute ubiquity of wifi networks on college campuses (campi?)? A college student would never need to use 3G on a reader, so why charge them for it.

Looks to me like this is intended to hit send-them-off-to-college market. And given what the kiddies spend on jeans these days? Definitely a no-brainer.