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Amazon adds audio, video capabilities to Kindle app for iOS devices

post #1 of 27
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Amazon this week updated its Kindle application for iOS devices including the iPhone and iPad, bringing users the ability to view audio and video with new e-books that include multimedia content.

Some new e-book titles available for the Kindle now include embedded audio and video clips. The new functionality for iOS devices means that Apple's hardware can view content that Amazon's own Kindle e-ink hardware cannot.

Titles included with the expanded format range from "Les Miserables" to "Knitting for Dummies." Also included are "Rick Steves' London" by Rick Steves and "Together We Cannot Fail" by Terry Golway. Titles are $9.99 and available at amazon.com/kindleaudiovideo.

"We are excited to add this functionality to Kindle for iPad and Kindle for iPhone and iPod touch," said Dorothy Nicholls, director, Amazon Kindle. "Readers will already find some Kindle Editions with audio/video clips in the Kindle Store today -- from Rose's 'Heavenly Cakes' with video tips on preparing the perfect cake to Bird Songs with audio clips that relate the songs and calls to the birds' appearances.

"This is just the beginning--we look forward to seeing what authors and publishers create for Kindle customers using the new functionality of the Kindle apps."

In addition to the new audio and video functionality, Amazon has also updated its Kindle for iPhone application to take advantage of the new high-resolution Retina Display found on the iPhone 4.



"We are truly excited to have collaborated with Amazon to launch Kindle Editions with audio/video," said Peter Balis, Director, Digital Content Sales, Wiley. "Innovations like these represent the advantages that digital can offer. Advancing our content in this manner is important for our authors and our readers and it will raise the bar on what digital reading can offer for years to come."

Since the iPad was announced, Amazon has reportedly internally rethought its strategy with the Kindle hardware. In February, The New York Times reported that the company purchased multitouch company Touchco and folded them into its engineering team. Soon after, the Kindle group posted over 50 job openings for positions related to hardware design, suggesting the company is looking to create a new version of its mobile reader.

Last week, facing increased competition from the iPad, starting at $499, and the Barnes & Noble Nook, which reduced its starting price to $149, Amazon slashed the price of the Kindle. The e-ink reader now costs $189, down from a price of $259.
post #2 of 27
This kind of thing happens apparently as Amazon's software and hardware teams are separate and do not necessarily work together. Hence the Kindle software guys just want the best Kindle book experience possible on as many devices as possible, regardless of what that does to perceptions of the Kindle hardware.
post #3 of 27
Pretty soon they'll be giving these things away.
post #4 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by kotatsu View Post

This kind of thing happens apparently as Amazon's software and hardware teams are separate and do not necessarily work together. Hence the Kindle software guys just want the best Kindle book experience possible on as many devices as possible, regardless of what that does to perceptions of the Kindle hardware.


amazon is everywhere
and is everything to all people platforms and devices
amazon ma evan brand a pad device for it self like the green HP pod from yrs back

amazon understands to bow to apple and make a ton of money

google can you hear me ???
flash guys adobe can you feel me ????

go amazon
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beatles
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whats in a name ? 
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post #5 of 27
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Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post

Pretty soon they'll be giving these things away.

scary huh
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whats in a name ? 
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post #6 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by kotatsu View Post

This kind of thing happens apparently as Amazon's software and hardware teams are separate and do not necessarily work together. Hence the Kindle software guys just want the best Kindle book experience possible on as many devices as possible, regardless of what that does to perceptions of the Kindle hardware.

I think it's more likely that they've made a corporate decision that their real business is selling books and the Kindle is a distraction.

When there were no good eReaders, it made sense to release the Kindle. But now that there are alternatives (which are better in most respects), they're apparently focusing on the software and book sales.

It's nice to see someone focusing on what they do well rather than expanding willy-nilly into new areas that they know nothing about (see Google).
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Gatorguy 5/31/13
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post #7 of 27
Interesting stuff indeed!
post #8 of 27
With a price war breaking out over dedicated e-Readers, it makes sense for Amazon to get out of the hardware business as soon as possible. With the huge price drop, it is likely that Amazon loses money with each Kindle device it sells (or the margin is razor thin, at best.) Hoping that people buy enough books to make it profitable is a risky strategy.

Amazon's strategy going forward should be to focus on making the Kindle software for iDevices as good as possible and selling books. If they don't have the stones to keep the price of the hardware Kindle steady, they don't belong in that business. Big price drops smell of desperation which cause a lack of confidence in the platform's viability and a downward spiral begins.
post #9 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

It's nice to see someone focusing on what they do well rather than expanding willy-nilly into new areas that they know nothing about...

I agree.

Apple should ditch iBooks, at least in it's current state. It serves no purpose for Apple to compete against Amazon.

They would do better to hand the iBooks code and IP over to Amazon and maybe even get a couple of Apple developers working within Amazon to keep the iDevice Kindle application as the primary and best platform for Amazon content.

Maybe Apple could even push for some exclusive content...
post #10 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Firefly7475 View Post

... Apple should ditch iBooks, at least in it's current state. It serves no purpose for Apple to compete against Amazon. ...

It's serves the purpose of providing some significant competition in the ebook marketplace and keeps Amazon from exerting the sort of control over the industry they previously did. So, the only one it would be good for for Apple to ditch iBooks would be Amazon.
post #11 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by brucep View Post

amazon understands to bow to apple and make a ton of money

The Kindle was and still is a means to an end for Amazon. It has NOTHING to do with "bowing to Apple." Amazon wanted to establish itself as the premiere supplier of digital books before someone else beat them to the punch (like Apple did with music).

Amazon's not stupid enough to miss out on a potential market, hence the available of applications capable of reading Kindle-formatted books for the PC and Mac and not limiting it to the Kindle. And that's why Android app is on its way.
post #12 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

It's serves the purpose of providing some significant competition in the ebook marketplace and keeps Amazon from exerting the sort of control over the industry they previously did. So, the only one it would be good for for Apple to ditch iBooks would be Amazon.

That's a romantic view of the world
post #13 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post

Pretty soon they'll be giving these things away.

This article is primarily about the Kindle app for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad - and that is a free app, so they are "giving" it away.

I do find it interesting how you see more and more advertising for the Kindle and they lowered the price and now this. So what is their marketing campaign, "Buy the Amazon Kindle and get fewer bells and whistles than you do with our free app on the iPad."

It is a great thing to offer, it will push publishing companies to make their books and magazines more robust and interactive. I like how the future continues to become the present. Thank you Apple for pushing others to develop and not be lazy.
post #14 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Firefly7475 View Post

That's a romantic view of the world

It's not romantic at all, it's entirely empirical. Before Apple announced iBooks, Amazon did dictate the terms under which ebooks would be sold. Now they don't. QED.
post #15 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Firefly7475 View Post

That's a romantic view of the world

It's a realistic view of the world ... unlike your moronic suggestion of a new business model (and I use that term loosely) of Apple turning over iBooks to Amazon so they could concentrate on hardware. I can only hope you were trying to use humor that was "over my head" ... if so .. I apologize for the use of the word moronic ... if not, moronic stands.
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post #16 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by macFanDave View Post

With a price war breaking out over dedicated e-Readers, it makes sense for Amazon to get out of the hardware business as soon as possible. With the huge price drop, it is likely that Amazon loses money with each Kindle device it sells (or the margin is razor thin, at best.) Hoping that people buy enough books to make it profitable is a risky strategy.

Amazon's strategy going forward should be to focus on making the Kindle software for iDevices as good as possible and selling books. If they don't have the stones to keep the price of the hardware Kindle steady, they don't belong in that business. Big price drops smell of desperation which cause a lack of confidence in the platform's viability and a downward spiral begins.

Risky perhaps, but not at all unusual. The game console makers have used this strategy for a long time. The hardware is a wash at best -- all of their profits are on software.

But I also don't see how Amazon remains in the hardware business, or even why they'd want to. It only made marginal sense for them initially, as a way of driving e-book sales. Unless they are prepared to invest big in hardware and software design, competing with Apple in this market is fool's errand. Even with the investment, I think they haven't got much of a chance. Going toe-to-toe with Apple on hardware and software -- now that's a risky strategy!
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post #17 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by macFanDave View Post

Amazon's strategy going forward should be to focus on making the Kindle software for iDevices as good as possible and selling books... Big price drops smell of desperation which cause a lack of confidence in the platform's viability and a downward spiral begins.

Keen observation. I, too, am glad to see Amazon offer their Kindle software to many iDevices. But, with the "touch" engineering want ads... this makes me think they are not ready to give up on the Kindle. Friends that have one, love that it stays charges for weeks and months -- with single functionality.

Unfortunately, Amazon may have to do a bit more "downward spiral" before they give up the hardware.
post #18 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

It's serves the purpose of providing some significant competition in the ebook marketplace and keeps Amazon from exerting the sort of control over the industry they previously did. So, the only one it would be good for for Apple to ditch iBooks would be Amazon.

I agree. A bit of competition is better than none... and Apple can build in things like the PDF bookshelf.
post #19 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

It's not romantic at all, it's entirely empirical. Before Apple announced iBooks, Amazon did dictate the terms under which ebooks would be sold. Now they don't. QED.

No doubt, but how does that benefit Apple... or rather, how does that benefit Apple as compared to having some kind of exclusivity deal with Amazon when the flood of $99 Android eReader\\iPad clones starts hitting the market?

If Apple want iBooks to be a competitor they should make it a competitor. At the moment it's crap. Only the most foolish of people will start building their eBooks collection in it when the Kindle app is there as an alternative.


Quote:
Originally Posted by newbee View Post

It's a realistic view of the world ... unlike your moronic suggestion of a new business model (and I use that term loosely) of Apple turning over iBooks to Amazon so they could concentrate on hardware. I can only hope you were trying to use humor that was "over my head" ... if so .. I apologize for the use of the word moronic ... if not, moronic stands.

All I read in that was "wah wah wah"... what was your point?
post #20 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Firefly7475 View Post

No doubt, but how does that benefit Apple... or rather, how does that benefit Apple as compared to having some kind of exclusivity deal with Amazon when the flood of $99 Android eReader\\iPad clones starts hitting the market?

If Apple want iBooks to be a competitor they should make it a competitor. At the moment it's crap. Only the most foolish of people will start building their eBooks collection in it when the Kindle app is there as an alternative.

Good working relationships between companies happen only when the goals are similar. There is no advantage to Amazon in giving Apple an exclusive on the Kindle app - and a huge downside risk. OTOH, there is a big disadvantage to Apple in such a deal, too - they would have to give up iBooks and lose control over content delivery. Neither side would benefit.

As for iBooks, what's wrong with it? I'm sure there's some little geeky feature that it's missing that 12 people in the universe care about, but overall, it's a great app. I just finished Lord of the Rings (1400 pages or so) and was very satisfied with it. Of course, I was more interested in the contents of the book than the features of the app - and iBooks does a great job of staying out of the way.

If you prefer an app that's in your face and gets between you and enjoyment of the book, feel free to look for alternatives. There's always Kindle.app.
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post #21 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

As for iBooks, what's wrong with it?

The app is great, the problem is that the books are tied to it. I'm happy with my iDevice world at the moment, but I can't give that guarantee for 5 or 10 years in the future.
post #22 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Firefly7475 View Post

The app is great, the problem is that the books are tied to it. I'm happy with my iDevice world at the moment, but I can't give that guarantee for 5 or 10 years in the future.

So the problem with iBooks is that you don't know what you're talking about?

You can use ePub books just fine with iBooks. No need for them to be tied to the app.

Besides, you said previously that the app was crap. How does your perception that it uses DRM make the app crap?
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post #23 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

So the problem with iBooks is that you don't know what you're talking about?

You can use ePub books just fine with iBooks. No need for them to be tied to the app.

Besides, you said previously that the app was crap. How does your perception that it uses DRM make the app crap?

Wait up... so books purchased through iBooks can actually be transfered to any device supporting ePub?

If that's the case I've got a lot of back-tracking to do!

I've recommended to a bunch of people to use Kindle instead of iBooks because I thought eBooks purchased through iBooks were locked to the Apple ecosystem which is a crap position to be in. If purchases can be transfered out of iBooks then it's actually a better app to use moving forward than Kindle!
post #24 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Firefly7475 View Post


All I read in that was "wah wah wah"... what was your point?

Sorry, I didn't realize that your ability to understand what you're reading was so limited. I'll "dumb it down" for you .... you're an idiot .... better?
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post #25 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by newbee View Post

Sorry, I didn't realize that your ability to understand what you're reading was so limited. I'll "dumb it down" for you .... you're an idiot .... better?

Taking the time out of your day to abuse someone on the interwebs... classy! What a fascinating life you must lead!!!

The brilliant thing about this board is that (just like real life) trolls, fools and abusive tools, those who aren't bright enough to actually make a comment and those who just lack the social skills to interact can simply be... ignored.

Ignore list, meet newbee. Newbee, meet ignore list.
post #26 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Firefly7475 View Post

Wait up... so books purchased through iBooks can actually be transfered to any device supporting ePub?

...

I've recommended to a bunch of people to use Kindle instead of iBooks because I thought eBooks purchased through iBooks were locked to the Apple ecosystem which is a crap position to be in. If purchases can be transfered out of iBooks then it's actually a better app to use moving forward than Kindle!

Paid books bought through the iBookstore are DRMed just like Kindle books. Free public domain books are not DRMed. You can, however, add any DRM free ePub book to your iBooks library. I think the main difference here is that you add your own content directly, yourself, through iTunes to your iBooks library but for Kindle you have to hand it over to Amazon to get it into your reader(s). (Or so I've been told by people with Kindles.)
post #27 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Firefly7475 View Post

No doubt, but how does that benefit Apple... or rather, how does that benefit Apple as compared to having some kind of exclusivity deal with Amazon when the flood of $99 Android eReader\\iPad clones starts hitting the market?

If Apple want iBooks to be a competitor they should make it a competitor. At the moment it's crap. Only the most foolish of people will start building their eBooks collection in it when the Kindle app is there as an alternative.

For the same reason Apple generally doesn't make those sort of deals. For the same reason they don't want Flash on their iOS devices. Obviously, they expect ebook reading to be a major use for the iOS platform and they want to make sure that someone else can't throw up barriers to adoption for that purpose, or control the supply of reading material, or generally control the experience of reading ebooks on iOS devices. Apple has absolutely nothing to gain by partnering with Amazon, and much to lose.

(EDIT: Not to mention that any sort of exclusivity deal between Apple and Amazon on e-books and/or e-readers would invite way too much attention from regulators, and probably rightfully so.)

How long has Amazon been working on it's Kindle software vs. the amount of time Apple has been working on iBooks? (Why do people make these arguments that assume things will remain static, or that one of two things will remain static. Not just in this case, but constantly.) Apple has already added significant functionality in v1.1 of iBooks -- the ability to sync bookmarks and place across all your iOS devices -- as well as some minor enhancements. I think it's pretty clear that this will be an important piece of software for them (or they wouldn't have opened the iBooksore) so it's also pretty obvious that iBooks will be gaining functionality/usability, and possibly platform support (I wouldn't be surprised to see it come to Mac and Windows, but Android, not), rapidly in the future.
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