Amazon Declares War On All Fronts

Amazon is not letting anyone horn in on its action!

Two huge items today:

1) Rumor: An Amazon Android Tablet May Follow The Amazon Android App Store

2) Amazon Launches Kindle for the Web

These are major moves.

First, the KindlePad:

I’ve been saying on Twitter for months that Amazon has a KindlePad in the works.

But what I envisioned was an actual Kindle turned into an Android tablet. It’d be a 6″ tablet with a Mirasol color touchscreen.

When Amazon announced yesterday it would open an Android app store, that started a lot of questions rolling.

Now it looks like the KindlePad will be a full-fledged iPad competitor with a 5″ or 7″ LCD running Android with an Amazon GUI and Amazon DRM and — of course! — a Kindle app included.

Bezos has stated that Kindle Books is a business separate from Kindle hardware. Each has its own goals and P&L statements, etc.

I guess someone inside Amazon — maybe even in the Kindle hardware business — made the case Amazon should do its own Android tablet.

And now, given the Android app store and KindlePad rumors, it all makes me seriously wonder if Amazon’s Kindle Store is deciding to also offer ePub books.

As The Digital Reader noted, the Kindle Store just made a significant change to the way eBooks are created. ePub code is now included within the file for Kindle books.

That’s a very strange move. I’m not technical enough to know if it’s even possible for such hybrid cross-platform books to be created — one that senses the device or software and can switch between Kindle format and ePub format. Is there even a formal spec that defines such a capability? If there isn’t, Amazon is probably creating one — and will probably file a patent for it too.

The biggest question about the KindlePad is this: How in the world are they going to position it?

Will be it a media/shopping tablet? Amazon has a music store and keeps trying to enter video. There’s all of Amazon as a built-in shopping destination. And there’s the Kindle reading software too.

Second, Kindle for Web:

This allows portions of a book to be embedded into a website — like a YouTube video or Scribd document. It’s also a punch in the face to Smashwords, which has offered in-browser reading capability yet never took the next step to this YouTube-like embedding capability.

Amazon has a way to go with this, still:

1) Not all books have this feature. I can see a new round of rights negotiations taking place with the Big 6 to allow this. I can’t see any reason why they would disallow it. That’d be suicidal.

2) It doesn’t yet work with blogs. Here’s the code embedded and stripped away by to what’s permitted:

KindleReader.LoadSample({containerID: ‘kindleReaderDiv’, asin: ‘B003X28734’, width: ‘723’, height: ‘496’});

3) Tweeting a book doesn’t work properly yet. I tweeted from a book at this site. The tweet didn’t include the book title.

Reading “” from <- testing tweeting from Kindle for Web book. Title borked!Tue Sep 28 12:51:19 via web

And the referral link went to the Kindle Store page — and there was no in-browser Preview button at that listing (at the time of writing this):

Click = big

But there are huge pluses to this:

1) It gives Amazon an immediate advantage over every other bookstore: Sony, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo/Borders. The Kindle Store can now infect the entire Internet.

2) It’s convenient as all hell. People usually download a Sample to see whether a book has proper formatting. This skips that step, letting people see the formatting immediately. People can make faster buying decisions with this.

3) When I blog about a book — and finally supports this (which I think they will) — I can embed a bit of the book itself to show people. That immediacy of sampling is a Killer Feature.

The app itself is very smooth in Opera and I’d rather use it than the Kindle for PC app because it’s just so much faster.

It’s clear that Amazon is not going to let anyone encroach on its turf — and it’s beginning to see anything that can be sold as its turf.

Embeddable Kindle Books is just the start. How long before they offer this for video and music too? That’s a feature Apple has never even considered. It’s had years and years to offer this for iTunes music, for instance.

One final word: Amazon’s rumored terms and conditions for its Android app store are going to cause a huge controversy. I’m under NDA, but I can tell all of you right now that there’s a clash coming up. And it’s going to determine part of the future for eBooks.


Filed under Amazon Kindle, Android, Book Creation, eBooks: General, eBooks: Screens, Other Hardware

8 responses to “Amazon Declares War On All Fronts

  1. Interesting. Although I don’t consider anything with a 5″ or even a 7″ screen a true competitor. Anyone who has used an iPad knows that even on a 10 inch screen.. you’re just barely able to read the majority of websites without having to enlarge the page. Reading on a much smaller screen is not an option for me… though I know some won’t care if the price is right. For reading books, a 5inch screen would be fine as I’ve read plenty of Kindle books on my iphone.

  2. Pingback: Adobe InDesign can now make Kindle ebooks

  3. Pingback: Amazon – ePub, would this be a good idea for the world of ereaders? | eBookAnoid

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