Since 1997, you’ve been coming to BarnesandNoble.com to discuss everything from Stephen King to writing to Harry Potter. You’ve made our site more than a place to discover your next book: you’ve made it a community. But like all things internet, BN.com is growing and changing. We've said goodbye to our community message boards—but that doesn’t mean we won’t still be a place for adventurous readers to connect and discover.

Now, you can explore the most exciting new titles (and remember the classics) at the Barnes & Noble Book Blog. Check out conversations with authors like Jeff VanderMeer and Gary Shteyngart at the B&N Review, and browse write-ups of the best in literary fiction. Come to our Facebook page to weigh in on what it means to be a book nerd. Browse digital deals on the NOOK blog, tweet about books with us,or self-publish your latest novella with NOOK Press. And for those of you looking for support for your NOOK, the NOOK Support Forums will still be here.

We will continue to provide you with books that make you turn pages well past midnight, discover new worlds, and reunite with old friends. And we hope that you’ll continue to tell us how you’re doing, what you’re reading, and what books mean to you.

Reply
Distinguished Bibliophile
keriflur
Posts: 6,797
Registered: ‎01-05-2010
0 Kudos

Is Amazon selling the kindles below cost?

We've talked here more than a few times about how most of these devices are sold near cost with the hopes of making profits on the content.  I was reading this article on the new ipad air screen and they talk about how the kindle fire hdx display is even better than the ipad air display because of tech Amazon chose to use:

 

"LTPS is commonly used on displays for smaller devices such as the iPhone, but Amazon has pushed the technology to the edge by bringing it to tablet-sized displays despite high costs and complicated production. Apple is unlikely to follow Amazon's lead in the near future, in large part due to scalability issues that simply won't support the tens of millions of tablets Apple is producing each year."

 

The "despite high costs" line caught my eye, and I'm wondering just how much it costs to make an LCD kindle, and how much of hit Amazon is taking on the devices it sells.

 

http://www.macrumors.com/2013/11/05/apples-ipad-air-adopts-igzo-technology-for-thinner-lower-power-d...

 

Thoughts?

Distinguished Bibliophile
bobstro
Posts: 4,027
Registered: ‎01-01-2012
0 Kudos

Re: Is Amazon selling the kindles below cost?

The linked article is gushing about Apple's new iPad air display: "Apple's iPad Air Adopts IGZO Technology for Thinner, Lower-Power Displays"

 

Don't see any Amazon references in there!

Distinguished Bibliophile
keriflur
Posts: 6,797
Registered: ‎01-05-2010
0 Kudos

Re: Is Amazon selling the kindles below cost?


bobstro wrote:

The linked article is gushing about Apple's new iPad air display: "Apple's iPad Air Adopts IGZO Technology for Thinner, Lower-Power Displays"

 

Don't see any Amazon references in there!


You didn't look hard enough.  :smileywink:  See what I quoted above.

Distinguished Bibliophile
bobstro
Posts: 4,027
Registered: ‎01-01-2012
0 Kudos

Re: Is Amazon selling the kindles below cost?

[ Edited ]

Ah, that was the entire reference to Amazon. Sorry, was expecting more "selling at a loss" info.

 

I was surprised at how well the Fire did since inception. I knew it would do well, but I didn't expect it to rocket upwards so quickly. If it does what you want, I suppose it's a good value. Amazon's obviously getting a good amount of uptake on their content feeds, so the shiny little 7 inch spoons must be working.

 

Interesting that Amazon actually has the lead in display quality, but I wonder if Amazon and Apple are really in head-to-head competition. I'm sure there's some overalp on the 7 inch devices, but are there a lot of people considering one over the other?

Inspired Bibliophile
deesy58
Posts: 2,486
Registered: ‎01-22-2012
0 Kudos

Re: Is Amazon selling the kindles below cost?

Should we be surprised that a company like Amazon might take a page from the Marketing book attributed to Gillette so very long ago on the selling of razor blades?

 

"Freebie marketing has been used in business models for many years. The Gillette company still uses this approach, often sending disposable safety razors in the mail to young men near their 18th birthday, packaging them as giveaways at public events that Gillette has sponsored, et cetera."

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freebie_marketing

 

 

 

 

Distinguished Bibliophile
bobstro
Posts: 4,027
Registered: ‎01-01-2012
0 Kudos

Re: Is Amazon selling the kindles below cost?

It's more suprise at the quality of the freebie (well, cheap) "handle" Amazon's using to deliver their "blades" (content). They at least have the public covering the cost, or most of the cost, of the delivery mechanism.

Distinguished Bibliophile
keriflur
Posts: 6,797
Registered: ‎01-05-2010

Re: Is Amazon selling the kindles below cost?

[ Edited ]

Yep, it's definitely the nicest disposible safety razor I've seen. :smileywink:

 

I think differences in the Amazon model (or really, the electronics/ereader market model) from the Gillette model are rather interesting.  With razor blades, the blade itself is really the big deal.  The handle is, well, just a crap piece of plastic that holds the blade, and could almost be interchangeable between manufacturers except for the customization unique to each maker so that Gillette handles only take Gillette blades.

 

With ereaders, the handles aren't interchangeable, the blades are.  We can buy movies, books, etc., anywhere and they're the same.  Forrest Gump from Amazon is identical for Forrest Gump from B&N, Google, etc.  Same blade no matter where you go.  All the real haggling is over the handle.

Inspired Bibliophile
deesy58
Posts: 2,486
Registered: ‎01-22-2012
0 Kudos

Re: Is Amazon selling the kindles below cost?


keriflur wrote:

Yep, it's definitely the nicest disposible safety razor I've seen. :smileywink:

 

I think differences in the Amazon model (or really, the electronics/ereader market model) from the Gillette model are rather interesting.  With razor blades, the blade itself is really the big deal.  The handle is, well, just a crap piece of plastic that holds the blade, and could almost be interchangeable between manufacturers except for the customization unique to each maker so that Gillette handles only take Gillette blades.

 

With ereaders, the handles aren't interchangeable, the blades are.  We can buy movies, books, etc., anywhere and they're the same.  Forrest Gump from Amazon is identical for Forrest Gump from B&N, Google, etc.  Same blade no matter where you go.  All the real haggling is over the handle.


Perhaps one of us is missing the point.  The Kindle format is unique and proprietary, isn't it?  If Amazon gained the ability to completely control the format of all the e-books it sells, it could easily give Kindle readers away in order to increase the size of the market for its e-books.  What is it about this philosophy that is invalid?  Isn't it an underlying implication in your OP? 

Distinguished Bibliophile
keriflur
Posts: 6,797
Registered: ‎01-05-2010
0 Kudos

Re: Is Amazon selling the kindles below cost?


deesy58 wrote:

keriflur wrote:

Yep, it's definitely the nicest disposible safety razor I've seen. :smileywink:

 

I think differences in the Amazon model (or really, the electronics/ereader market model) from the Gillette model are rather interesting.  With razor blades, the blade itself is really the big deal.  The handle is, well, just a crap piece of plastic that holds the blade, and could almost be interchangeable between manufacturers except for the customization unique to each maker so that Gillette handles only take Gillette blades.

 

With ereaders, the handles aren't interchangeable, the blades are.  We can buy movies, books, etc., anywhere and they're the same.  Forrest Gump from Amazon is identical for Forrest Gump from B&N, Google, etc.  Same blade no matter where you go.  All the real haggling is over the handle.


Perhaps one of us is missing the point.  The Kindle format is unique and proprietary, isn't it?  If Amazon gained the ability to completely control the format of all the e-books it sells, it could easily give Kindle readers away in order to increase the size of the market for its e-books.  What is it about this philosophy that is invalid?  Isn't it an underlying implication in your OP? 


Perhaps one of us is looking too hard for controversy.  I just think it's interesting, the shift in the model from having differentiation in the "free" item versus the "profit" item.  I never said the model was invalid, I said it's changed in an interesting way.

 

I *think* only the ebook format is proprietary, but for years there have been tools to strip the proprietary part of the format off.  But regardless, the handle, i.e. the kindle, is NOT proprietary - it will read mobi files perfectly fine.  So Amazon banks on the idea that folks won't buy a kindle and then load a bunch of B&N ebooks onto it, by making it really easy to buy kindle books.

 

Again, it's just interesting.  I wonder how far we can push the analogy before it breaks, and I wonder how far Amazon can push the model before it breaks.

 

FWIW, B&N, even with generic-format blades (i.e. epubs), is playing the same game, especially with the new, low-space-for-external-content NGL.  I'd say they're playing it even harder than Amazon right now.

flyingtoastr
Posts: 3,051
Topics: 55
Kudos: 2,980
Registered: ‎11-11-2009
0 Kudos

Re: Is Amazon selling the kindles below cost?

[ Edited ]

Amazon's ebook system is effectively proprietary until the publishers ditch DRM.

 

Amazon's Kindle format (.AZW) is just a Mobipocket file wrapped in a DRM layer. Mobipocket, as you stated, is an openly documented format. However, the DRM schema is proprietary, and (more importantly) Kindle devices can not natively read any DRM'd file other than that proprietary schema. Since no one else has access to the DRM encryption, it is legally impossible to sell a Kindle book that is DRM'd by anyone except Amazon.

 

Since publishers are still insisting on DRM for pretty much everything, it becomes impossible to sell books for Kindle devices for companies like BN or Kobo. If a book wasn't required to have a DRM encryption BN could happily sell all their books in both EPUB and Mobipocket. But since all of the major publishers in the US require the use of DRM and BN can not legally obtain Amazon's schema they simply can't provide a publisher mandated encumbered file in a format a Kindle device will read natively.

 

It's a nice little setup for Amazon, which is why Bezos' bluster about "not caring about DRM" isn't true.

 

As for their other content: Amazon's digital movies and audiobooks follow the same format (open standard wrapped in a proprietary DRM wrapper, in this case types of MPEGs) and require proprietary software to use. Their music is sold encumbered-DRM free, but still contains account watermarks.