Amazon today opened its UK Kindle store for business and is offering popular e-books at massive discounts. The online retailer has already established a Top 10 best sellers league, and prices are between 50 per cent and 66 per cent off list prices, The Bookseller says. Helpfully, for us, this trade publication has checked out …
(Too) Early adopter :(
I'm an earlier adopter (UK) - I bought a Kindle when they started shipping it from the US store, internationally. Having seen the new Kindle on sale, I'm weeping every 5 minutes since I spent far more than 109 GBP on it.
I also doubt whether the UK Kindle books will be available for me to buy. Any other of my fellow chumps know?
RE: (Too) Early adopter :(
"I also doubt whether the UK Kindle books will be available for me to buy. Any other of my fellow chumps know?"
If you go to the "Manage my Kindle" page on the Amazon UK page there is a handy button you can click to transfer your Kindle and all purchased content from your US account to the UK page. Process takes seconds and will allow you to purchase books through the UK site.
Kindle on iPhone
I've got Kindle on the iPhone, the selection of books has improved significantly since I last tried it, but I was charged in dollars so maybe Amazon have been sneaky and are letting people buy US releases. That used to be blocked, so I'm not sure why it's allowed now.
My biggest gripe with Kindle on the iPhone is that there's no auto-scroll like in eReader or Wattpad. Sure swiping or tapping to turn a page isn't that onerous, but if there's a better solution, why not include it?
@ Si 1
"if there's a better solution, why not include it?"
Somebody probably has a patent on the better solution.
Yep, love it
I use it on my ipad, the books are scarily cheaper than the ibooks store (plus, there is no Pratchett in the ibooks store, a heinous omission). I also much prefer the 'tap to advance' page system over that in ibooks, which requires you to do quite a long deliberate swipe.
I'm actually quite worried that changing pricing from dollars to pounds will lead to the books being much more expensive..
iBooks needs a swipe?
No it doesn't. Tap the left edge of the page to move back, or the right edge to move forward. Pretty darned easy really. Having a choice of both stores has to be a good thing though.
Works like a charm - it is a bit freaky the first time you pick up a book on a different device and it's already cued; but then it becomes one of those 'that's brilliant!' things.
Who let such a dreadful mistake in the first paragraph of this article slip past?
"Amazon today opened its UK Kindle store for business and is offering popular e-books at massive discounts[, but are actually rather price when you consider Amazon are only offering a rental service with the expiry period undefined until Amazon decides to silently set the date]"
Fixed, but we can rest assured that Amazon can revise better than Stalin himself never ever did... ever.
Seriously though, I'd be far happier if the Kindle was running alongside actual book sales. I'm not saying that ebooks are so cheap (editing costs are significant and vital to producing a readable novel) that they can be given away for free or at huge (66%) discounts, but having already paid healthy sum for a professionally published story I'd not expect Amazon to be raking in 44% of the paper price for a glorified rental.
One problem with e-books in the UK is that they attract VAT at 17.5%, or 15% if sold from Luxembourg which certainly iTunes is. Dead tree books however have 0% VAT. The printing and distribution cost of a dead tree book probably isn't that big, so e-books can work out being more expensive.
Great in theory
Shame the books are littered with errors.
I've bought a handful of ebooks from the Kindle US store and they contain missing characters, formatting marks, letters replaced with random characters including non alphanumeric and poor formatting.
If they don't get the conversion process right then I won't consider making the switch away from paper as I'd like to do.
Oh, and one of the items with typo's was a Terry Pratchett title, so hardly an obscure title.
I finally came into the twenty-first century recently, gave in and tried the Kindle store out on my lappie. I was shocked by how badly the books suffer from typos, substitutions and other errors through the conversion process. Far from illegible and it wouldn't necessarily keep me from buying some books this way for the convenience but still I'd have to say the system is in need of much work.
I hate to break this to you, but...
... I've heard many an author complain about shockingly poor copyeditors at publishing houses today. And that's for *printed* books.
The number of typos and other errors I've seen in novels of late—including Pratchett's—has been getting steadily worse for years. I've got 1960s-era genre novels with fewer errors, and those were the days before word processing, let alone automated spelling and grammar checkers.
I don't think this state of affairs will improve any time soon.
@Great in theory
>I've bought a handful of ebooks from the Kindle US store and they contain missing characters
Mostly 'U's perhaps?
They also seem to be completely missing any humour or irony !
You can get second hand books from Amazon market place for next to nothing.
I think the kindle is very much technology for technologys sake.
You are essentially correct in terms of pricing, but you are missing one small, but crucial point: portability. If you essentially read at home, then carry on as normal. But if you travel a lot, have a long commute, or study and have to carry (heavy) textbooks from one location to another, then an eReader comes into it's own.
I'm currently (studying) in China, and as well as weeping as a semi-early adopter (Booken Opus owner - sitting on my desk back in the UK), I'm really missing being able to read without buying / shipping books that will either have to be donated or shipped back to the UK. I'm already loaded down with Chinese text and grammar books that will need to be shipped back!
The UK Kindle is now priced at a level where I feel people will be prepared pay, including a number of features that one would expect as standard (but sadly haven't been from some previous eReaders) e.g. decent bookmarking, annotations - plus being able to download books without having to connect to a Pc and use software to download one's book to a Pc, then transfer it to your device.
Storing your library in the cloud, then being able to access one's library from any device is the cherry on the cake.
I'll be purchasing an UK Kindle upon my return - simply because my Booken Opus fails in some crucial areas in terms of lacking a decent bookmark function, no annotation function, having to connect the device to a Pc, install yet more 3rd party software to simply transfer books to my device (small but aggravating point - also why I'm seriously thinking of buying the HTC Desire, so I can finally rid myself of iTunes), and I really dislike the page-turning transition on the Booken Opus. Whilst I was initially impressed at the accelerator function to be able to turn the device and read books in wide-screen, Apple slick it ain't! The stutter and flicker as it turns - although small - begins to irritate with time.
Standard advice before you take the plunge to buy an eReader: check to make sure that the books that you wish to read are available - particularly if you wish to buy textbooks for study purposes, or wish to buy certain books that are only available in certain regions (it's like regional coding for DVDs all over again!).
One question vis-a-vis regional coding: does anyone know if one purchases an UK Kindle, will one be kicked square in the balls by regional coding i.e. books only available if you are located within a given region e.g. US, Europe, yada yada yada? The reason for asking it would be a pain whilst travelling (or living / studying abroad) to want to be able to read a book, then find you're prevented from purchasing due to regional coding!
About 95% of the books on my Cybook are out of copyright and free. While i could find second hand copies of most of them, they would cost far more than the ebook reader did.
Not a bad start
I went through my wish-list and looked for Kindle versions of everything on it & found three books under a pound, saving around £8-9 on the cover price or £4-5 off the normal Amazon price.
I'm tempted by a couple of others that are ~50% of the price of the dead-tree version.
It's a bit of a shame that this is only likely to be an introductory thing, those prices are much more sensible for eBooks.
i wouldn't bet on it
if you do a dollar > pounds conversion (with exchange rates as opposed to the 1 : 1 currency conversion that most companies like to use!) then you'd see that the average price for books in the top 100 is pretty congruous with the average price on amazon.com
i.e. i don't think it's an introductory offer, i think that kind of pricing is here to stay.
let's not forget they have to be competitive with the supermarkets... tesco has had a 2 for £7 offer on paperbacks as long as i can remember now, at least three years... asda regularly sells bestseller paperbacks dirt cheap.. not sure about sainsburys and others but i'm fairly willing to bet they sell books cheap too.