Versandhändler Amazon Relation Browser will bis Ende 2011 bereits mehr E-Books verkaufen als gedruckte Taschenbücher. Es dauere dann auch nicht mehr lange, bis der Verkauf der E-Books auch die kombinierten Verkäufe von gedruckten Hardcovern und Taschenbücher überholt habe, sagte Amazon-Chef Jeff Bezos gegenüber USA Today.
Volume of Kindle book sales stuns Amazon's Jeff Bezos
Jeff Bezos predicts Kindle e-book sales "will surpass paperback sales sometime in the next nine to 12 months."
Amazon.com(AMZN) revolutionized book reading in 2007 when it introduced its Kindle e-reader. But now consumers can choose among several digital reading devices — and Apple hopes to change the game by making e-books available on its powerful iPad tablet computer.
CEO Jeff Bezos is fighting back with a new Kindle that's more powerful and less expensive.
USA TODAY Personal Technology columnist Edward C. Baig visited Bezos in Seattle to discuss Kindle, tablets and e-books in general.
Excerpts, edited for space and clarity:
Q: Why not add multimedia to e-books?
A: You want to enter the author's world, the great novel or engaging non-fiction narrative. In the case of a physical book, you're not noticing the stitching and the glue and the paper and the ink. That all disappears. We're always trying to make Kindle get out of the way.
If it's a book about music history, having music people can play at certain points in the book can be useful. Maybe biology textbooks can benefit from certain animations. You're not going to make Hemingway better by adding animations.
Q: Why didn't you add a touch-screen?
A: It'd be very easy to add a touch-screen; in fact, Sony has done it. We don't want to compromise the reading experience. Today's capacitive touch-screen technology is an extra layer on top of the display surface, and it increases glare.
Q: Amazon is selling more Kindle e-books than hardcover books. When will you pass paperbacks?
A: 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.
Q: What accounts for that growth?
A: I think it's a combination of the electronic ink display, which makes reading for long periods very comfortable. There's the 3G wireless we built into Kindle so that you have that convenience of (being able to download) books in 60 seconds. And we have 600,000 titles in the Kindle bookstore, not counting the 1.8 million pre-1923, out-of-copyright titles that you can get for Kindle for free.
Q: Why doesn't Amazon support the popular "e-pub" standard used by your competitors and many libraries?
A: We are innovating so rapidly that having our own standard allows us to incorporate new things at a very rapid rate. For example: Whispersync (which uses wireless connections to sync your place in a book across devices) and changing font sizes.
Other standards over time may incorporate some of these things. But we're moving very quickly to improve the state of the art. It's very helpful not to have to wait for some third-party standard to catch up.
Q: With lower prices, what do you say to people who bought Kindles recently?
A: The good news is the resale market on Amazon for (older) Kindles is very good — seriously. They fetch quite fat prices. You won't be able to sell it for $189, obviously. But it holds its resale value quite well. You can also give it to a friend or child.
Q: Are you concerned about growing competition?
A: All we can see is our sales are accelerating. When you think about things like tablet computers (and) the iPad, at Amazon we're excited because it's likely to be a driver of mobile commerce. We have this retail business, so we like it when people are connected to the Internet as often as possible.
There are going to be a lot of tablet computers — the Android ones are coming. Kindle works on BlackBerry, Android, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, PC and Mac. Our approach is: Buy once, read everywhere. We want you to be able to read your Kindle book on any device, then we want separately to make the very best uncompromised e-reader.
Q: Who do you think will buy the $139 Wi-Fi-only Kindle as opposed to the pricier model with 3G?
A: Evidence is starting to accumulate that this is a mass-market device. I predict that at the $139 price, people will buy multiple Kindles. We'll have to wait and see. People might buy Wi-Fi-only models for the kids and 3G ones for themselves.
Q: How about a Kindle with a color screen?
A: If you could add color without compromising readability, great. But color is not ready for prime time.
An LCD (color) display (such as the one on the iPad) has many compromises: All of a sudden, you can't read outside; people like to read outside. All of a sudden, you have to worry about your battery. For many people, extended reading sessions on an LCD display cause eyestrain. There's a whole bunch of reasons you want a display like Kindle.
Q: Are you in the device business for the long haul?
A: This is our third generation of Kindle. I hope we'll be sitting here talking about the 10th and the 20th generation of Kindle. We will also make our apps available on a wide variety of devices so people can read on LCD-based devices, tablet computers, smartphones, laptops. We have taken as a mission to have the best purpose-built reading device. We want to have the best Kindle bookstore.Read more at www.usatoday.com