Monday, April 05, 2010

The iPad Has Landed

On Saturday, the iPad became available to consumers.

So--just for fun--I looked at the Amazon e-book prices for the top five New York Times best-selling books in fiction and non-fiction.

Fiction:

  1. Caught by Harlan Coben: Dutton (Penguin) $9.99
  2. The Help by Kathryn Stockett: Amy Einhorn (Penguin) $9.99
  3. House Rules by Jodi Picoult: Atria (Simon & Schuster) $12.99
  4. The Silent Sea by Clive Cussler & Jack DuBrul: Putnam (Penguin) $9.99
  5. Bite Me by Christopher Moore: William Morrow (HarperCollins) $10.99

Non-Fiction:

  1. The Big Short by Michael Lewis: W.W. Norton & Co. -- No Kindle version
  2. Chelsea, Chelsea, Bang Bang by Chelsea Handler: Grand Central (Hachette Livre) $12.99
  3. The Pacific by Hugh Ambrose: NAL (Penguin) $9.99
  4. Change Your Brain, Change Your Body by Daniel Amen: Harmony (Random House) $9.99
  5. Courage and Consequences by Karl Rove: Threshold (Simon & Schuster) $12.99

We have five of the Big Six publishing houses represented in the above list. Only Macmillan is not included so I'm adding Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel, a book I'm reading right now. Wolf Hall was published by Henry Holt & Co., a division of Macmillan, and the Kindle version is selling for $12.99.

That means Hachette, Macmillan and Simon & Schuster are all selling their Kindle versions of best-selling books for $12.99.

Random House and Penguin are selling their Kindle versions for $9.99.

That leaves the odd man out--HarperCollins--which has Bite Me priced at only $10.99. Mistrusting just one sample, I went in search of other HarperCollins' best-selling books. The New ME Diet by Jade and Keoni Teta (which came out ten days ago) and The Jesus Wars by Philip Jenkins (which has been out almost a month) both have a Kindle version for $11.99. I was, therefore, a little surprised to find The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver, which has already been out for five months, priced at $12.99. It looks like HarperCollins is individually pricing each e-book.

Last Thursday, the Wall Street Journal had an article titled "Amazon Strikes Two Book-Pricing Deals":

The e-book agreements, with CBS Corp.'s Simon & Schuster and News Corp.'s HarperCollins Publishers, mirror deals struck earlier this year with Apple for the iPad. Under what's called the agency pricing model, some new best sellers will be priced at $9.99 but most will be priced at $12.99 to $14.99.
The article also says that Amazon is "in advanced discussions" with two more of the Big Six: Hachette and Penguin.

That leaves only Macmillan and Random House. You may recall that, on January 29, Amazon pulled Macmillan's books off their website after the publisher approached Amazon to discuss the "agency model" deal they'd cut with Apple. Ten days after the Amazon/Macmillan showdown, the Wall Street Journal reported that Amazon had backed down, putting the publisher's books back on sale:
Specific terms of the Macmillan agreement couldn't be learned. However, they are expected to include higher prices for e-books, mirroring those offered by Apple on its coming iPad device.
And, of course, to date Random House is keeping its own counsel. The only indication of their thinking was a comment by Madeline McIntosh, RH's president of Sales, Operations, and Digital, who said publishers “have no real experience at setting retail prices.”

I'll admit to some curiosity as to how sales of the iPad will hold up once consumers begin to actually use it. MSNBC pointed out the following:
For now, Apple is selling versions of the iPad that can only connect to the Internet using Wi-Fi ... the on-screen keyboard is hard to use and [users] complain that it lacks a camera and ports for media storage cards and USB devices such as printers ... the iPad can't play Flash video, which means many Web sites with embedded video clips will look broken to Web surfers using Apple's Safari browser ... And the iPad can't run more than one program at a time ...
Read the entire MSNBC article here.

eWeek.com reported on one analyst's reaction to the iPad's inability to play Flash video. Francis Sideco said: "Until Apple addresses this issue one way or another, its decision not to support Flash … will have a limiting effect on the iPad's sales potential ... This is because one of the key use cases of the device, as marketed by Apple, relates to Web browsing or consumption of online content. Absent Flash, iPad uses will not be able to enjoy Flash-driven content, which is used in a considerable [number] of Websites, as well as Web-based games and video."

Read the entire eWeek.com article here.

The New York Times did two separate reviews of the iPad in one article--a review for techies and another for non-techies. Here's a portion of the non-techie review:
The iPad is so fast and light, the multitouch screen so bright and responsive, the software so easy to navigate, that it really does qualify as a new category of gadget. Some have suggested that it might make a good goof-proof computer for technophobes, the aged and the young; they’re absolutely right.

And the techies are right about another thing: the iPad is not a laptop. It’s not nearly as good for creating stuff. On the other hand, it’s infinitely more convenient for consuming it — books, music, video, photos, Web, e-mail and so on. For most people, manipulating these digital materials directly by touching them is a completely new experience — and a deeply satisfying one.
Read the entire New York Times article called "Looking at the iPad From Two Angles" here.

Stay tuned ...

3 comments:

commentbug said...

happy saturday, love the blog

Commentbug.com

Jesse said...

Hey Maya,

iPad seems to be not all that great. I don't own a Kindle but I gather it doesn't display in color? Perhaps someone should come up with a simple (and cheaper) device that will do the basics for readers with text and color graphics. I believe there is a great opportunity for both books and magazines if such a device existed. Sports Illustrated's swimsuit edition would be a big seller (smile).

Jesse

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