What with the Kindle being the super number 1 product on Amazon, it initially appears that the clamour of preferring ebooks over their physical counterpart is slightly a bit disingenuous or at least misguided. After all, it appears that of the titles bought for the Kindle, more often than naught are, shall we say, priceless:
And how much money is Amazon making? How much money are authors and publishers making? When GalleyCat examined the Kindle Store bestsellers, they found that 64 of the 100 bestselling eBooks, the majority, were, in fact, free, including the number one bestseller, “Midnight in Madrid”, by Noel Hynd.
It’s question of cost, and the chilly reception from publishers who probably never thought the iTunes effect would be superimposed at great length upon their industry:
But publishers have ignored this demand. In response, several conglomerates have aggressively moved to protect their legacy. Macmillan recently announced a plan to delay the publication of e-books and offer enhancements that will justify a higher price. This tactic is aimed at Amazon’s policy of trying to set $9.99 as the expected price for an e-book. Most are priced much higher — but that’s beside the point. Amazon and publishers are fighting over this fiction, not the reality. Because Amazon’s customers have made it clear that $9.99 is still too high for their taste. Most titles in the company’s list of top 100 Kindle bestsellers are priced below $9.99, and the most popular price point is $0.00. But publishers can’t hear this, because they’re a little distracted right now.
All this is coinciding with imminent launch of the super secret Apple Tablet so achingly soon. And it’s no coincidence, since I feel that while Amazon has successfully developed and marketed its own niche in the book industry with the Kindle, consciously or not, they are following the Apple iTunes model of providing a platform for cheaper, more widely disseminated content. That is what consumers want. That is what authors, especially new aspiring authors, want.
Perhaps Apple’s subtle emergence into the ebook market will drive Amazon’s incentive to make a more functional, and less expensive reader.
The talks come as Apple is separately racing to offer a portable, full-featured, tablet-sized computer in time for the Christmas shopping season, in what the entertainment industry hopes will be a new revolution. The device could be launched alongside the new content deals, including those aimed at stimulating sales of CD-length music, according to people briefed on the project.
Book publishers have been in talks with Apple and are optimistic about their services being offered with the new computer, which could provide an alternative to Amazon’s Kindle.
Favored Dispatch! It brings great joy to have acquired news through the inter-tubes that Jason Lytle, former frontman of Grandaddy, will once again elevate himself into the stratosphere with his new release, Yours Truly, the Commuter.
Always introspective and always artistic, Lytle will no doubt offer an account of past memories tempered with the solitude and reflection of his move to Montana. The spirit of alt-country welcomes you back into her sun-soaked arms, Jason.
For those who have or even haven’t read The Somnambulist by Jonathan Barnes, one should check out The Domino Men, whch comes out Feb. 12th. Word is The Prefects are making an encore appearance.
Neko Case, for those unawares.
“A little bit creepy and a little bit country.”
Such is the self-description of The Handsome Family, an overly under-appreciated alt-country duo that your ears deserve more listening to. It pleases me to no end to hear that the Family Sparks (Brett and Rennie) will be delivering a new release with the delivery of the new year.
For those not in the know, the Family’s sound is, in my opinion, resurrecting country music as we know it today. Not the garbage on your radio nor on cable TV, but the stuff of old before it was mutilated and exploited by corporate clowns. Not only has lead singer Brett the voice and presence often compared to Johnny Cash, but Rennie’s lyrics are so starkly beautiful and haunting that it’s hard to stop listening. Be forewarned…words like macabre, dark, and death-obsessed are well deserved; their songs involve the isolation and cruelty of the wilderness far from any road, the bottomless pits discovered in our backyards of all places, the sudden sleepiness induced by other-worldly visitors, and the mysteriousness of the creatures of the animal world we normally disregard without second thought.
My favorite release by the Family is Singing Bones, but their most recent album, Last Days of Wonder, is a stunning release that’s more lyrically philosophical than prior releases; its undercurrent is the great journey of life sung on grandiose, temporal themes. Journeys ranging from cosmic explosions to not-so-chance meetings in airports, even to the brief encounters exchanged at the drive-through; either way, it’s a blurry collage of life in those times when you’ve always somewhere else to be.