07 October 2009

And here comes The Kindle

Amazon has finally announced its Kindle ereader is available to customers outside the US including Australia. For US$279 you can order your Kindle and they'll ship it to you from 19 October. I imagine there won't be a lot of Australian content available for us, as local publishers have been relatively slow to get behind ebooks. Allen & Unwin and Pan Macmillan are two notable exceptions thanks to Elizabeth Weiss and Victoria Nash respectively. These two publishing leaders continue to promote the digital agenda and I don't know what the local industry would do without them!

Mind you, I had to laugh when I read that Don Grover, CEO of Dymocks, spoke about the take-up of devices being driven by content. They were the first retailer to get on the ebook bandwagon (we library suppliers having gotten on it some years back...). But now the ebook kiosk at Dymocks tells a sad, sorry tale. Dismantled and hidden away at the back of the store, it failed to attract a wider audience. Of course it would! If you want to buy an ebook you don't need to go into a bricks and mortar bookshop. That's the beauty of it! Hop online and a few clicks of the button later you have your content. Also, apparently Dymocks sold thousands of Iliads. Ahem. Thousands? A contact at the distributor advised the real figure was much less but don't let us stop you upselling the demand and promoting the uptake of ereaders! We all know it's the future so get your e-reader today folks. Of course you can't get much content but hey, here's a device that you'll enjoy carrying around with you!

And then, of course, there was this beauty from Don: ‘We're finding consumers like the wide screen of a laptop computer instead', he said. No kidding! Didn't we see that all along? Ereaders are great but at the end of the day readers will read on whatever device they use the most - their phone, their laptop, their ereader. Dymocks started the ball rolling but I really do hate to see them drop it.

And for those who have been following this blog: for the record, I'm still reading printed books! However I've got plenty of content (mainly US sourced) on the Sony e-reader. This is the first year I will be taking the device with me to the Frankfurt Book Fair and I must say I'm excited and nervous at the same time. Excited because there's around 46 books currently on the reader, including Audrey Niffenegger's new one Her Fearful Symmetry and nervous in case I have trouble charging the bugger and find I have nothing to read but German magazines I'll pick up while I'm there. My German's good, but not that good!

Oh, and before I sign off this post - perhaps in the months ahead people will stop asking me "oh is that a Kindle" every time I take out the e-reader. No it's bloody not a Kindle. It's a SONY!


  1. Are you planning to get the Kindle, too? You know, for comparison purposes. *g*

  2. I wish I had shares in e-ink because the Kindle has made this technology very desirable by making it CONVENIENT. Then again, who really cares about risk-averse Australian publishers when you can download e-books from anywhere, even Oz sites such as ebooks.com and readwithoutpaper.com

  3. True but ebooks.com freely admits there are too many titles there with rights restrictions for Australian readers.

    Gutenberg has been great for the classics but for new releases, we are really stuck. I get mine through the Sony portal purely because I'm registered with a US address and don't have problems getting content.

    And no Bookthingo, am not getting a Kindle! I think they are ugly and I really don't want to be tied into Amazon. Mind you, I'm not happy about being tied into Sony either.

    Looking forward to seeing what Australian publishers do via the APA and whether it will be just for booksellers or for end users as well.

    In the meantime I'll continue to source all my content offshore.

  4. Get a Kindle, you'll love it even more than the sony. No issues about reading in full sunlight and no glare. The killer part is not the actual device, it's the wireless connection to the bookstore. No that Amazon have discovered the way to get ebook readers mainstream it's only a matter of time until Apple and Microsoft put one out.

  5. You freely admit that you're illegally bypassing publisher defined territory restrictions by using a USA delivery address, although you're Australian.

    Oh yeah, everyone get a Sony and you can be just as dishonest about getting content for it.

  6. Dear Anonymous - what choice have I got? There's very little available locally in an ebook format and I'd love to see real change on this score. I want to read an ebook, I want to read the latest releases, and I want to read as soon as the book is available at the best possible price. As a consumer I will source content accordingly. The device that I'm reading from is irrelevant. And I've been totally honest about this problem since day one. I want to see change locally and continue to push for it with ANZ publishers. There's no need to get snippy about it!!!!

  7. I just want to add to my comment yesterday as I'm still a little annoyed by the recent comment left by Anonymous, who obviously has not been following this blog or else they would know I've been experimenting with ebooks and ereaders for work projects. I started this blog as a way to discuss and relay my reading experiences and think the comments were a little harsh, all things considered.

    The Sony ereader was not available locally and my constant enquiries to Sony Australia were met with a substandard response about lack of demand, no release date, etc. I needed a Sony ereader for my work so our US office acquired the device for me as part of the projects I'm doing here. It was then registered to our US address and I've had no trouble accessing content since - from Sony and other sources. I've also had a good insight into ebook marketing from Sony - and this was (and still is) an important part of my project.

    I've "met" an amazing number of people who have been reading ebooks for a long time and they have not been acquiring them locally. That's indeed a sad state of affairs wouldn't you say?

    Even the Government weighed into the ebook discussion recently (with the Productivity Commission decision) and said customers will opt to buy books online and ebooks if they weren't made available in a timely fashion and a competitive price.

    If you can find me a list of ebook sites locally that are selling the books I want to read, when I want to read them, I'd be more than happy to look into it and reference them on this blog.