Update on the Amazon International Kindle and What It Means For Authors

I’ve had my International Kindle about a month now and wanted to report on how my reading has changed, and how this affects you as an author. I was positive before, but I am even more so now I have a decent e-reader that is improving my life as a biblioholic!

How my reading and book buying behaviour has changed

  • I buy more books. I read fast and the instant gratification means I finish one book, and then I am recommended the next in the series or a related topic, which I can get delivered instantly. I also browse the Kindle store for fun during day job lunch hours. While I am reading one book, I also jump to the store if other books are recommended.
  • I take a chance on books I wouldn’t buy in print. It is also easy to get a sample delivered so you can read a chapter for free. I have bought several ‘unknown to me’ books this way, and also rejected some.
  • I buy books for knowledge or entertainment, not for a physical product. This was interesting to me as it was unexpected. I am a sucker for self-help and development books. I take notes as I go and actually, it’s the knowledge I want, not the physical book. I am happy to spend $11/$12 for the knowledge I gain from your book, regardless of the format.
  • I love the note-taking and bookmarking ability. This is made all the better with the Kindle for Desktop application. I read and make notes on the Kindle, then write blog posts/articles at my computer with the notes pages in front of me. Brilliant!
  • I prefer to buy on the Kindle. Firstly I have just moved house and I have over 1000 books that I have paid to ship from UK to NZ to Australia. I seriously can’t hold any more stock here! So I am trying to move to buying less paperbooks, and culling what I have to retain the most loved print books. Saying that I have ordered 2 books in print that I read on the Kindle first. Second, it is cheaper for me. As mentioned before, prices of books in Australia are astronomical and make print books a budget breaker. I can get 3 Kindle books for the price of 1 new paperback. Thirdly, the risk is lower. I can read samples when I like and buy for cheaper without feeling ripped off if the book is no good. (I stopped reading the Scarpetta that sparked the last post!)

What is not good about the International Kindle?

Basically, not all books are available either in Australia or in Kindle format anyway. This is lost sales in my opinion as I am actively not buying print books (unless they are really special!) in favour of buying Kindle books. I am confident that this will change as the ebook market grows and in the meantime, there are hundreds of thousands of other books available.

I previously mentioned the DRM (Digital Rights Management) as a negative, but personally, I have not even noticed. I buy mostly from Amazon.com anyway so it is natural for me to continue with them as a preferred source.

It is an amazing distraction from NaNoWriMo! (both a positive and a negative!)

How this applies to you as an author

  • Get on the Kindle – it’s another market even if you are not into reading ebooks yourself. If you are a US citizen, then you can do this straight from dtp.amazon.com. Or you can use a company like EBookArchitects.com
  • The Kindle is another revenue stream. Check out Joe Konrath’s revenue streams here. It is only going to grow as the Kindle and other ebook readers are rolled out world-wide (Canada was added last week!). So get your backlist on it ASAP! The Kindle also takes shorter forms so you can publish short stories, essays etc.
  • Get yourself a blog and get onto the social networks. Books sell by word of mouth. As soon as I hear of a book I fancy, I look in the Kindle Store and get a sample if it’s available. Then if it’s good, I buy it. Get your books out there and talked about. Make sure people are seeing your books around and hearing about them on the social networks. If people can find your book instantly, they are more likely to buy than if they write down or try to remember the title and then go to their local bookstore in an attempt to find it!

IMAGE Credit: Flickr Creative Commons GoXunoReviews and here

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  1. Paul says

    Insightful and sadly motivating (I now want one of the darn things!). As an author living in Australia I despaired at the recent govt backdown on book imports. Hurting the end user with higher prices does not for a good market make. I, and hundreds, even thousands of other readers will simply continue to go offshore to amazon and bookfinder to buy their books. And now, with Kindle (yes please Santa), that whole process just got easier. The end result is less sales in my much-loved-but-expensive local book store. Thanks Joanna (great job you’re doing!)

  2. says

    Thanks Paul. I definitely think it is worth buying, especially as in Australia we don’t have a choice because there is no Sony Reader and no Nook, let alone the others!
    I also agree re the import discussion – I think it is only a postponement. It won’t be long until the market has to be competitive. I want to buy Tim Winton but he blows my book budget!

    Thanks, Joanna


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