Friday, February 25, 2011

Amazon vs. The World


by Libby Hellmann

Remember the battle between Betamax and VHS a few decades ago? Remember how VHS won? Well, as many of you know, there's a new battle today in the ebook world: Amazon vs. ePub. For those of you who have been in a cave, ebook formats roughly break down into the Mobifile format, which Amazon uses, vs the epub format, which everyone else (Barnes and Noble, Sony, Google, Kobo, etc) uses.

For a while now, I've been saying that, unlike the Betamax-VHS struggle, Amazon is going to win this one. Why? Because their inventory is unparalleled, and their interface is the smoothest around. I really wanted to like Google, since they made it possible for independent booksellers sell ebooks, but their interface is lousy. Then we began hearing that Apple was going to restrict the Kindle app on the iPhone and iPad -- previously it was free -- and people started to say, "You see? Amazon is on the decline."

Well, think again. SHELF AWARENESS today reports news from blogger Chuck Toporek:

Will bookstores eventually be able to sell Kindle books? Cnet reported that Amazon might be working on a way to circumvent Apple's new rules on subscriptions by utilizing the Kindle app for iOS...Bookstores, authors, retailers, bloggers and other website owners will be able to offer Kindle books from their own sites, let their readers start enjoying the full text of these books instantly, and earn affiliate fees for doing so....Toporek suggested "the reason we haven't heard Jeff Bezos screaming about this recent change to the IAP rules is because Amazon isn't worried. They have a solution already in beta testing.


Read the complete post here.

Interesting times we live in...

17 comments:

JD Rhoades said...

VHS won out over Betamax because they got the content providers on their side.

JVC licensed the format to more manufacturers, so theere were more and cheaper machines playing VHS. Therefore, more content distributors released more content in VHS, and Beta's market share shrunk.

Given that example, you'd think that the more widely usable EPUB would rule. But, unlike VHS vs. Beta tapes, it's not that huge a deal to market books in multiple formats.

Amazon has more market share because, like the old cavalry general said, they got there "firstest with the mostest."

But I don't think the other formats are going to die out, given the ease of delivering the content in multiple formats. I uploaded my latest e-books to Amazon, B & N, and smashwords (which deals in other formats) and the conversion was done in less than 10 minutes.

John said...

I think Amazon will do just fine because, imho, they have the best product. I am very happy with my Kindle (and its customer support) but I will always be a paper book reader and collector just for the sensual experience. The Kindle is great for taking a lot of reading material on a trip, but I just can't conceive of a world without books (especially those by Libby Hellmann!)

John.

Libby Hellmann said...

Consider me blushing, John. Thanks.

I hadn't considered that, JD. I am curious to see what the impact of Apple's more restrictive policy re: the Kindle app will be. One of the reasons I wanted to get an iPad is because the Kindle app was on it.

Nike free run 2 said...

firstest with the mostest.

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