Amazon Needs To Move The Kindle To A Subscription Model To Save It From The iPad


A few hours ago I read Paul Carr’s column on Techcrunch about how the iPad will kill the Kindle. His thesis is that it will kill it, but not because it is a better ebook reader, which he says it’s not due to the Kindle’s e-ink, but because it will kill casual reading. He says that with a Kindle you have so many funny things to do that you’ll just no be able to concentrate on reading.

I don’t agree with everything he says in his column, but I agree with the main thesis. If Amazon keeps trying to sell the Kindle at its current price ($259 for the Kindle and $489 for the Kindle DX , Amazon affiliate links) it can’t compete with the iPad, which range from $499 to $829 but can do much more things and is trendier.

However, Amazon has an advantage: their core business here is selling ebooks, not Kindles, so they should not compete directly with the iPad. I’ve read several times lately that Amazon was trying to figure the numbers to give Kindles for free so people would buy more ebooks when they tried it. They have even tried this approach and given away a few Kindles. The problem with this approach is that you can make mistakes and give Kindles to people who won’t use them and won’t buy ebooks. And I don’t know the cost of the Kindle, but it can’t be as low as to allow this kind of mistakes.

This is where the subscription model can save the Kindle. I think it’s safe to say that everyone who buys or thinks in buying a Kindle is an avid reader. And avid readers buy a lot of books. So sell everything together. Instead of selling the Kindle and then the ebooks, give me a Kindle if I buy a subscription. They can even make tiers: if you buy x ebooks a month for two years we give you the Kindle for free, or if you just want to compromise to x ebooks in the first year you have to pay x amount (reduced) for the Kindle. I understand that this approach is not easy to implement (it’s not easy to enforce, you need credit checks or deposits…) and it’s not easy to sell. But selling Kindles is not gonna be easy anymore anyway. With this model the Kindle can’t be compared directly to the iPad on price. And Amazon would be selling reading, not a reader.

And regarding the use, I would not be worried I were Amazon. If you give people cheap Kindles they will use them. The iPad may be great, but with its price is not for everyone yet. Even if people prefer to read in the iPad, it would not be a problem for Amazon, they have already sold the subscription, so they should not care a lot if people read those ebooks on the Kindle or on the Kindle App for the iPad.

Posted: April 12th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Internet and Technology | Tags: , , , , , , , | 14,766 Comments »

Xbox 360 is not Region Free and I Hate That


I’m about to buy an Xbox 360 (Amazon affiliate link). I live in Spain but travel frequently to the US, so I decided to buy it there because they are cheaper. I thought I only would need a new power adapter to make it work in Spain. After all, it’s a modern product full of technology and it should not have problems jumping over a small ocean.


Before ordering I did some research and it turns out that most consoles are not region free. The nasty thing is that they are not because the manufacturers have decided to make them that way consciously. They have worked more to prevent me from buying one in a continent and using it in another one! There are chips for this! If I buy my Xbox360 in the US it would not work on all TVs, it would only play games bought in the US, I would need new power adapters (of course!) and I could have problems with warranty and support if something breaks…

Some time ago some devices were not region free because different technologies in each continent made it impossible to make them work everywhere. VCRs were an example. In Europe we had PAL for TVs and in the US they had NTSC. Both systems had different number of lines, so manufacturers needed to produce a device per continent. Only high end VCRs were able to work everywhere. Today the technology to surpass this issue is cheap. And it would be cheaper for manufacturers to make only one version than to make several. But they don’t because they prefer to be able to maintain different prices and policies everywhere. Consumer is harmed because Microsoft and others decide so.

In a world that is smaller each day, with people moving around all the time, products should be region free whenever possible, not the other way.

Posted: November 22nd, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Internet and Technology | Tags: , , , | 12,371 Comments »

Duracell Instant USB Charger is the Best Blackberry Accesory I’ve Ever Bought


I use a Blackberry Bold. And I love it. With it I can be really productive, not only when I’m on the move. However I have a serious problem with it, its battery doesn’t live long enough. With my intensive use I need to recharge during the day or it won’t make it to the evening. That’s not terrible when I’m not traveling, I can do it in the office, the car or with my laptop. But when I’m away I don’t always have my car, and the battery in my laptop is also a treasure I want to save.

Enter Duracell Instant USB Charger (Amazon affiliate link)

It’s not something new. There have been external batteries for years. But this one is:

  • Cheap: 24.99$ in Amazon
  • Light: 4.2 ounces (120 grams)
  • Universal: it can charge any device that can be charged with an USB cable (my Blackberry, but also iPhones, iPods, cameras…)

Now I always have one in my bag. And it has saved me many times.

Posted: November 13th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Internet and Technology | Tags: , , , | 13,087 Comments »