In a short announcement posted to Amazon’s site, the company says Kindle users will soon be able to lend books to one another.
While details are still scarce, Amazon says the lending feature will happen later this year and it will allow Kindle users to loan eBooks to other Kindle users for a loan period of 14 days. While the book is out on loan, the lender cannot read it.
Amazon says not all eBooks will be lendable, as it will be up to the publisher or rights-holder.
Amazon also announced it would make Kindle newspapers and magazines readable on Kindle apps for iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch (Android coming later), so users who buy books or newspapers can read content on devices other than just the Kindle. Amazon says this should launch in the coming weeks.
This is quite the announcement for the book world: Amazon says it’s selling more ebooks than hardcovers. According to a press release issued by Amazon, the company is selling more Kindles which is leading to an increase in ebook sales.
“We’ve reached a tipping point with the new price of Kindle–the growth rate of Kindle device unit sales has tripled since we lowered the price from $259 to $189,” said Jeff Bezos, Founder and CEO of Amazon.com in a press release. “Even while our hardcover sales continue to grow, the Kindle format has now overtaken the hardcover format. Amazon.com customers now purchase more Kindle books than hardcover books–astonishing when you consider that we’ve been selling hardcover books for 15 years, and Kindle books for 33 months.”
Among the company’s noted milestones:
Over the past month, for every 100 hardcover books Amazon.com has sold, it has sold 180 Kindle books. This is across Amazon.com’s entire U.S. book business and includes sales of hardcover books where there is no Kindle edition. Free Kindle books are excluded and if included would make the number even higher.
Amazon sold more than 3x as many Kindle books in the first half of 2010 as in the first half of 2009.
The Association of American Publishers’ latest data reports that e-book sales grew 163 percent in the month of May and 207 percent year-to-date through May. Kindle book sales in May and year-to-date through May exceeded those growth rates.
On July 6, Hachette announced that James Patterson had sold 1.14 million e-books to date. Of those, 867,881 were Kindle books.
Five authors–Charlaine Harris, Stieg Larsson, Stephenie Meyer, James Patterson, and Nora Roberts–have each sold more than 500,000 Kindle books.
The writing was on the wall a long time ago for book publishers, and we’re just now starting to see it actually happen in the marketplace.
A lot of people are commenting about the new Apple iPad, its pros and cons, and whether or not it was designed well. You can read professional reviews from people like Walt Mossberg, browse through video reviews on YouTube, or opt for a different type of review – one from a toddler. Kids these days are often more savvy than their parents, but a lot can be said about good user-interface design if a two-year-old girl can figure out how to work the iPad.
In this post by Todd Lappin, he points out that his iPhone-savvy daughter was able to figure out how to scroll between screens and run apps.
What’s even more impressive is her ability to see the iPad’s potential as a video-display device and her criticism that it doesn’t come with a camera. She even goes as far as talking about its potential as a gaming device.
There were a few things she struggled with, however. As Lappin notes:
On the downside, she had the same frustration as many adults, where touching the screen-edge with your thumb while holding the iPad blocks input to all home screen icons. Notice also that she was confused by the splash page for FirstWords Animals, her favorite spelling game: Because the start button looked like a graphic, rather than a conventional button, she couldn’t figure out how to start the game.
Kids who grow up in the touchscreen world are clearly able to pick up gadgets like the iPad quickly, and it’s this ease of use Apple should be capitalizing on in advertising. Think about it: If the iPad is going to be a next-gen book reader, Apple should be showcasing its ease of use for older generations intimidated by this type of technology, as well as parents who think they’re just a waste of time.