Jake's Tweetiquette

Assignment: Tweetiquette. May 30th 2016
Jake Grossman
Control Your Own News: Sync
Far too often, news outlets forge their own variations of how a news story goes.  This could be a way to potentially control what kind of information each individual obtains.  Select a variety of news outlets and the matrix shows you the information that is most widespread among outlets. — This should be a post – no information on a post was provided.
Hold the phone:
With this, audiences would be able to ask for confirmations of information she or he is receiving from a given outlet.
It would be amazing to be able to instantaneously fact check a news outlet.  The second they state information, the second you can click to view their sources for the info being broadcast.
– Had a theme of falsified information, here are my suggestions on posts: Who controls the media? Is there a need for a fact check, like spell check?
This would be a great method of compiling a series of excerpted examples of reporters and news outlets saying or stating something that is entirely trash or falsified.
– People could latch onto this idea by posting falsified information videos using this hash tag and starting a trend.
With this hash tag, users can post something she or he has read, watched or seen and receive peer critique as well as guidance.  This way the user can hear opinions instead of a fist-full of studious dialogue.
– Start a campaign with this hashtag which will drive people to comment and view topics from around the world.
This would be a great way for users to directly “call out” so to speak, the individuals who may have spoken out of line or without proper research.  The user can use this hash tag and tag the individual they with to see and receive a response from.  This idea I believe would appeal to the youth of our world currently.
We are the Intellect!
I believe an account should be made with this name.  It should be comprised solely of the young adults and collegians in our country.  With this account, the users would have the ability to (on a very wide spread plane) reach out to others and media with a powerful voice.  This could show remarkably how capable many of us are and how what we have to say is important to listen to.
Gorilla Live
With gorilla live, everyone has the chance to report first hand accounts right there in the streets with her or his very own phone.  This helps to take abusive control and steering away from major news outlets that could be falsifying some information intentionally.
Run it by me
For this filter, the user would be able to film something they read or heard via news outlet and immediately have it accessible to any and all followers.  With this ability, the followers are able to view and then give her or his interpretations back to the original sender.

The History and the Future of the Nook

Barnes and Noble released the first Nook e-reader in November 2009 for $259. It was the first time that an e-ink display was coupled with a small color LCD screen. It distinguished itself from the Kindle by allowing one to use the color touchscreen to navigate between menus and view things in full color. It had both WIFI and 3G.
From 2009 to late 2010, Barnes and Noble invested heavily in its online ecosystem. It formed relationships with major publishers through its bookstore business to ensure that B&N would have access to their digital wares and this, in turn, added more books to its online portfolio. B&N quickly attained over one million titles in the first year and captured 20% of the entire ebook market.

Eight weeks before Christmas in 2010, Barnes and Noble introduced the Nook Color. They sold millions of units in the months leading up to the holidays and sold 1 million ebooks on Christmas Day alone. They were the first big company to produce a six-inch full color Android Tablet that had its own customized user-interface. It was billed as an e-reader instead of a tablet.

The Nook Color sold more units than anything else Barnes and Noble has ever sold before in its 40 year history. The company made agreements with Best Buy and other big box retailers to put the products on the shelves. In early 2011, the Barnes and Noble App Store went live.

However, during Barnes & Noble's 2013 fiscal year, NOOK segment's revenue plummeted 16% to $780.4 million. Even though the sales of content on the NOOK jumped 16% between 2012 and 2013, the company suffered heavy losses from lower units sold and discounted prices. This resulted in Barnes & Noble booking a $511.8 million operating loss from the NOOK alone. This trend continued into 2014, with the segment's revenue falling 35% to $505.9 million. In comparison, Amazon’s Kindle fared remarkably well.

On June 5th 2014, Samsung and Barnes & Noble announced that the next Nook tablet will simply be a Galaxy Tab 4 with some B&N software. The 7-in Galaxy Tab 4 Nook would run Android, but the reading-centric UI would let you enjoy Barnes & Noble e-books. The tab would also include the Google Play Store.

On June 25th 2014, the bookstore chain announced that it was separating its NOOK segment from the rest of its operations. In response to the news, shares of company shot up to touch a new 52-week high.

This decision to separate the NOOK will could end poorly for the spun-off tech company in the face of competition from Amazon's Kindle. The situation would also have legal fallout from one-time business partner, Microsoft Word and Pearson, who is a partial owner of the firm's NOOK Media operations. In December 2014, B&N purchased the Microsoft shares of Nook, ending the partnership between the companies.

The Nook, for all intents and purposes, has failed as an e-reader. Faced with incredible competition from two giants, Apple and Amazon, the Nook was not able to keep being competitive and offer the range of services that Amazon and Apple are able to offer – like a connection to the Amazon store, or the quality of the iPad. The Nook was initially able to tap into a market in its early years; however, it was not kept up with the technology of the devices and the market that it caters. It seems like an uphill battle to fix the problems of the Nook, and it seems less likely as time goes on and Amazon and Apple better their products, that this will happen. Barnes and Noble seems to recognize this as it severs its relationship with the Nook. The Nook itself has morphed into a Samsung Galaxy Tab, and no longer existing as a book reader. Due to the lack of foresight, resources, creativity, and a competitive market, the Nook will not be able to catch up to Amazon and Apple.

Press Release – Language Barriers

Contact: Y. Liz Cordero-Rivera
University of California Press
155 Grand Avenue
Suite 400
Oakland, CA 94612–3758
General telephone: (510) 883-8232


                                              Book Announcement
                                      <strong>Language Barriers</strong>
                          Fall 2017

        <i>Language Barriers</i> is a non-fiction, sociological, scholarly book that explores how and why languages are taught, or not, in the U.S. It illustrates that the American public education system continues to short-change those seeking to learn a second language. This presents real-world consequences, because if the reason why a nation implements bilingual education policies is to strengthen its political economy, then the failure of these policies by highlight not only the individual, but the problems faced by the nation as a whole.

   “Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Duis bibendum metus non malesuada consequat. Sed urna risus, malesuada aliquam iaculis quis, congue sed justo. Donec tincidunt arcu at cursus convallis..”—Lourdes Gouveia, Ph.D., Director, Office of Latino/Latin American Studies (OLLAS), University of Nebraska-Omaha
  “Vestibulum sem ipsum, consectetur in sem placerat, vulputate fermentum sem. Integer efficitur, nisl nec porttitor cursus, metus arcu feugiat dui, vitae tincidunt turpis lorem eu lectus. Vestibulum eget elit sed nisl condimentum finibus quis in magna.”—Kevin Starr, University of Florida
   “Cras sapien quam, posuere eu nibh et, scelerisque elementum lectus.”— <i>Publishers Weekly</i>

Kindles Are Doing It Right, Unfortunately(?)

In America, one of the most popular e-readers is the Kindle, designed by Amazon. The invention of Kindle began in 2004, with Amazon aiming to get an e-reader out before any of its competitors. The first edition of the e-reader was released in 2007. The first paperwhite generation was released in 2012, and the LED tablet, the Kindle Fire, was released in 2011.

Although Amazon doesn’t release official numbers, unofficial sources state that as of 2009, two years after its first release, three million Kindles had been sold. In 2011, 48 percent of all e-book readers shipped were Kindles.

While incredibly popular among readers, the Kindle is incredibly unpopular in the publishing industry. Specifically, Amazon is incredibly unpopular in the publishing industry. Its pricing practices have sent waves through the industry time and time again, consistently pricing books low and undercutting the major houses such as Hachette and Penguin Random House.

Now, I am by and large ambivalent toward the existence of e-readers in my life. They have their place, and they’re really handy if you’re, hypothetically, writing a paper the night before it’s due and suddenly need a book for it. Generally, I will buy a physical copy of a book if it is at all feasible. I do own a Kindle Fire that I won as a reward for taking a survey in undergrad in 2008. I’ve read maybe fifteen books on it since then.

However, Amazon makes it incredibly easy for people to self-publish on their Kindle Direct Publishing. According to the website, it can be done in less than five minutes and authors get up to 70 percent of their royalties (much higher than they’ll get from a regular publishing house!). Regardless on my personal opinions on self publishing (most people who self publish probably shouldn’t), this is a great way for people who just want their books published to do so.

Amazon, and by extension, the Kindle, is dangerous to the publishing industry. In a 2009 article titled “Fear the Kindle,” Slate points out that should Amazon become to the publishing industry what Apple became to the music industry—the largest distributor—it could be incredibly damaging. Now in the seven years since this article was published, it’s obviously not as bad as Slate feared it would be.

For the most part, Amazon treats books as loss-leaders, a way to get people into the store (metaphorically, in their case, except for the couple Amazon Books stores). Even those stores serve largely—at least according to critics—as a way to sell Kindles, Echo, and Fire TV. For the publishing industry and the authors—which, for the record, depend on people buying books for much of their revenue—this is a problem. People know they can get books cheaper on Amazon and the Kindle, so why pay full price for a physical book or for an alternate form of it?

In the end, though, the Kindle is doing well. They’re the market leader right now, and there’s no reason to assume they won’t be for a long time. So, whatever Jeff Bezos and Amazon are doing, they’re doing it right, not matter what bricks-and-mortar stores and the publishing industry wishes they’d do.

The Rise and Fall of the Nook

Barnes and Noble unveiled their e-reader device, the Nook, in October 2009. Since then, the Nook has followed an uncertain path as it rivals Amazon’s Kindle. At its core, the Nook is geared towards readers simply looking for a device to read their books on, without the distraction of advertisements and apps. Within the Nook brand, there are five different e-reader devices, ranging from the Nook Glowlight to the Samsung Galaxy Tab E Nook with 9.6” LCD. Currently, CNET labels the Nook Glowlight as the “best ad-free reader” of 2016, offering an alternative to Amazon’s Kindle for those looking to read on good eInk Technology, creating an easier reader experience. Nook’s place in the eBook market has been spotty, mainly due to their decline in sales, poor hardware, and imperfect relationship with publishers.

In the interest of full disclosure, I myself own a Nook, and for the past four and a half years, it has done its job—allowed me to download eBooks and read them at my leisure, at an affordable price. This, at the core, is what the Nook was created for. In the early days of Nook, the product showed potential and promise, as it maintained 25 percent of the market share in US eBook sales in 2010 and 2011 (Greenfield). Built on an Android platform, the e-reader made early connections to popular publishers, including giants such as Pearson, allowing other Android devices, such as Samsung products, to download the free Nook App and access their reading material.

This is one of the main selling points for the Nook, and is something that they have excelled in. EBooks downloaded from Barnes and Noble can be accessed on other devices, as they are in EPUB file, while with Amazon and its Kindle, customer can only read Kindle books on a Kindle. Even though this is a great incentive for the Nook, it’s not enough to surpass the Kindle, especially when it comes to Amazon eBook prices.

Infamously, Amazon is known to set their own prices on eBooks, putting strain on publishers. Barnes and Noble saw an opportunity to make their own mark in the publishing industry by creating “The Nook Press,” a self-publishing program that allows writers to publish their books both in print version and digital version. In this way, Barnes and Noble hopes to create loyal customers that are writers as well as readers, bypassing the need for a corporate publisher.

In a 2015 article entitled “The State of the e-Reader Industry in 2015,” Michael Kozlowski states that the two global players in the e-Reader industry are Amazon, with 75 of the market share, followed by Kobo. The Nook, the article goes on to say, is in sales decline, with having their sales not match the amount of inventory being brought in. Part of what has contributed to the difficulty of Nook sales is the state of their hardware.

When it comes to the hardware on the Nook, especially on the more recent Nook tablets, one of the main criticisms is their use of apps. With the introduction of the e-reader tablets, Barnes and Noble also introduced an e-bookstore and an app store. However, the apps were limited to Barnes and Noble devices, allowing outside apps such as Adobe Reader and Overdrive to be inaccessible. This pushes customers to simply switch to another android device that could connect to the Nook store as well as apps such as the Google Play, where they can download and read their books.

Overall, the Nook has had its share of ebbs and flows. While it is still on the market, and used by millions of customers, its declining sales and poor hardware structure will continually put them behind Amazon. Improvements in these areas will benefit the product, but it’s unlikely to become more than an e-reader designed for reading.

1. "Best E-book Readers of 2016." CNET. N.p., 3 Jan. 2016. Web. 10 Apr. 2016.
2. Greenfield, Jeremy. "Ten Bold Predictions for Ebooks and Digital Publishing in 2014." Digital Publishing News for the 21st Century. N.p., 20 Dec. 2013. Web. 10 Apr. 2016.
3. Kozlowski, Michael. "The State of the E-Reader Industry in 2015." GoodEreader. N.p., 24 Sept. 2015. Web. 10 Apr. 2016.

A Bookstore Giant Trying to Make a Profit in the eBook Market

Several years ago, I bought my first e-reader to supplement my growing library of print books. That e-reader was the Nook 3g, and I loved it for the years it accompanied me. It had a tiny color touchscreen at the bottom, an e-ink display for reading at the top, and free, built in 3g internet. Before I upgraded to the Nook HD+ I could not imagine separating myself from my first Nook, and I have always preferred my Nook over the Kindle some of my friends had because they started reading ebooks before the Nook came about. But while there are people like me who are die-hard Nook users, the Nook is no longer a part of Barnes &Noble’s success story.

This was one of the earliest Nook devices coming out more than two years after Amazon launched the Kindle.
This was one of the earliest Nook devices coming out more than two years after Amazon launched the Kindle.

Barnes & Noble was first founded in 1873 and it continued to expand throughout the 1900s to become a major player in the bookselling industry. The company now has over 600 brick and mortar stores throughout the United States, and has expanded their retail business to include specialty items such as games, toys, and music. These non-book items offer higher profit margins for booksellers so they can keep selling books, but with the dawn of the digital age in books and competition from Amazon, Barnes & Noble had to step into a previously uncharted area in 2009 or risk losing a customer base that was doing more and more of its book buying online. That year, the Nook e-reader was launched, and it managed to sell millions of devices in its first few years.

Three generations of the Nook, its transformation into a tablet, and several apps and updates later, Barnes & Noble found it was no longer financially feasible to try to compete in the tablet/e-reader market. In 2013, Barnes & Noble sold their remaining Nook devices at discounted prices and announced they would no longer be making their own tablets. If you buy a Nook tablet now, you are actually buying a Samsung tablet that features the Nook and the Nook store among its applications. Yet Barnes & Noble has not given up on e-readers entirely.

Nook partnered with Samsung and now provides three different Samsung/Nook tablet options.
Nook partnered with Samsung and now provides three different Samsung/Nook tablet options.

The company is still making the simpler black and white version of the Nook. In its latest rendition, this e-reader is called the Nook GlowLight Plus. It’s geared towards serious readers who want to get as close as possible to the print reading experience. The device has a 300-dpi screen, a battery that lasts up to six weeks, and an illuminated screen for reading in bed or outside, and it’s even dust proof and waterproof so people can read anywhere, anytime.

Mashable shows the Nook is in fact waterproof by running a simple test.
Mashable shows the Nook is in fact waterproof by running a simple test.

Although Barnes & Noble cannot compete with Amazon on the same level, the bookseller continues to utilize their Nook as a way to sell and profit from digital content and hopefully attract customers to their brick and mortar stores nationwide. With their ventures into illustrated and out-of-print book publishing and their inclusion of independent titles in their Nook shop, Barnes & Noble hopes to be more than just a place to buy the latest bestseller or browse the bookshelves for books to buy from Amazon later.

What is Kobo?

Kobo has, in the past few years, drawn some attention to itself. It’s sniped an Amazon executive, reported an elevenfold multiplication of their revenue between 2011 and 2015, and controls approximately 20% of the global e-reading marketshare. For a company founded in 2009 (with, granted, the resources of a retail chain behind it), it’s not a bad rap sheet. What’s more, this rapid growth and accumulation of publishing prowess seems to feeding a company that seems almost suspiciously conscientious. Across the board, Kobo maintains fairer royalty rates and distributor relationships than its next natural competitor, Amazon.

This probably has to do with the fact that Kobo, unlike Amazon, is completely and unwaveringly invested in its digital, e-book distribution platform. Todd Humphrey, EVP of Business Development, says that Kobo is the only company that is 100% committed to its books and its e-readers, all the time. Unlike B&N, Amazon, and others, they have no conflicting interests and nothing else to worry about. This sort of focus on reading, and improving the reading experience, also leads to a seemingly much more ethical corporation as a whole.

When I speak of being “ethical,” I mean that Kobo seems to treat its neighbors in the publishing industry quite well. While Amazon will deeply discount books and negotiate aggressively about prices and JIT delivery, Kobo allows authors and publishers more control over the price and presentation of their book. Additionally, it partners with local distributors and retailers worldwide instead of attempting to push them aside. Incidentally, this has allowed for Kobo’s rapid globalization and expansion. “From day 1,” says Todd Humphrey.  “We made it our goal and a priority to be international. If we weren't international, we were not going to get the scale. We were not going to be able to get the pricing that some of our competitors would get to."

Even Kobo’s self-publishing model seems downright generous compared to that of Amazon. It has a higher dollar bracket in which authors can be authored %70 royalties ($5.00), and generally pays more for titles on the whole. It will also accept and distribute books in a variety of formats instead of insisting on .MOBI, and rather surprisingly, authors can reconfigure or cancel their agreements with Kobo whenever they like, with no questions asked.

With a sound business model, a dedication to reading, and good support and distribution of its hardware e-readers, it’s hard to find anything not to like about Kobo. The closest the company has come to a scandal was back in 2013, when abuse-centric pornographic titles were appearing in the self-published list. Kobo shut down the sale of all self-published titles for a while after that and implemented a reviewing process. Even today, self-publishers have to follow a content agreement that excludes obscene, offensive, and pornographic content. There’s some quiet grumbling about how that might be an inhibition on freedom of speech, but I’m not convinced that it’s barred any great works of art yet.


Kobo: The eBook for Indie Bookstore Lovers

Kobo Tablet
Kobo Tablet from Engadget

Kobo’s mission is to empower booklovers to read more. As a company who believes that reading makes the world a better place, it makes sense that their name is an anagram for book! This Toronto-based eReading service group is owned by the Japanese eCommerce conglomerate Rakuten Inc. Founded in December 2009, it offers over 4 million eBooks and magazines to millions of users in over 170 countries. They have an open platform which means readers can access their digital content from a variety of sources including EPUB, EPUB3 and PDF. They also allow readers to switch platforms with their free app. Let’s say you started reading on one device, but then switch to another, Kobo picks up where you left off! They also offer 77 languages across a variety of genres.

Kobo does a lot of things well, but one of the things I am the most impressed with is their partnership with independent bookstores through the American Booksellers Association. As a book lover, I want to support my local bookstore as much as possible. This partnership not only allows for Kobo to connect with a niche audience of indie bookstore goers, but ABA members share in the revenue of every eBook sale through Kobo. Wired called Kobo the "only global competitor to Amazon [in the eBook market]." I think this feature makes Kobo a strong competitor.

Kobo has three different types of e-readers with prices ranging from $89.99 to $179.99: Kobo Touch 2.0, Kobo Glo HD, and the Kobo Aura H20. After reading multiple reviews, the Kobo Aura seems to be the hands down favorite. Reviewers have said it is a pleasure to interact with, they have a great ComfortLight feature for after dark reading, and they have an easy store to purchase books that doesn’t push you to buy more like Amazon. Forbes contributor Jordan Shapiro writes, “an eReader should be about reading, not shopping.” And think this follow’s Kobo’s mission. They want to create a better experience for readers, not just to make money, but for the love of reading.

I think Kobo’s biggest weakness, however, is how big the Kindle brand is. Even the Nook, which is not nearly as successful, has a bigger brand. After an elaborate test to compare the reading experience of Kobo with Kindle, Shapiro calls Kobo the “almost perfect e-reader.” He notes the flaws are that it’s not as great for scholarly reading and the selection tool for highlighting and annotating is slow and difficult to operate. But to be fair, he says this is a problem for most e-readers.

Having never used Kobo before I would need to conduct my own experiment to analysis to pros and cons of this e-reader, but I’m sold by its mission and support of indie bookstores.

I'm Probably Going to Buy the New Kindle Oasis…

…and I am not ashamed!

I get it, as Publishing students we are expected to be ceaselessly loyal to dead trees we stamp ink on, er… I mean books. Why? Because of nostalgia or tradition or because we're really stubborn. One of these, take your pick. And we're supposed to be wary of Amazon because they challenge the book industry and we're not sure if we can trust this giant behemoth of a company.

But I have fully embraced my Amazon overlords. Jeff Bezos, if you're reading this on the off chance that you're super self-obsessed and deep Google searching your name, I submit my life to you. You've taken my money and your robots know more about me through my shopping history than my own parents do, so you might as well have my life.

shut up and take my money
and my life

Sure there is a believable chance that the Anti-Christ will come out of Amazon, but I'm going to enjoy everything Amazon offers until then. Yes, I know that their work-life is supposed to be hell and the way they manipulate prices is shady but I have and will continue to use Amazon for the same reason I sheepishly use Uber: It is super convenient.

You know what's more convenient than using precious carry-on bag space for books to read on the plane? Bringing one Kindle on the place. More convenient than packing boxes of my favorite books as I move from place to place? Having all my books on my Kindle. More convenient than having to actually leave your house and to interact with other humans beings to ultimately do something as private as reading a book in your room? My Kindle robots don't judge me for all the terrible YA fantasy fiction I like to indulge in. Have you ever gotten a paper cut from book? I dare you to try to get one on a Kindle.

I've had a Kindle since they had bulky keyboards (and I was sad when they discontinued the model) and I've tried to go back to books partially because of guilt and partially because of nostalgia. But in the end, convenience outweighs anything else.This is why I put most things on Amazon Prime, stock my pantry with Amazon pantry, get my clothes from myhabit.com (one of Amazon's fashion babies), and the moment AmazonFresh opens in my area I'm dropping my peapod account. If Amazon offered me all their services for free if I got a tattoo, I'd get tramp stamp. Because of symbolic purposes, of course.

So now that Amazon has introduced their sleek, lighter, cooler Kindle Oasis, I don't care that it's almost $300. I care that it looks like it's going to make reading more convenient for me and give me more reasons to read more often, and isn't that what's going to save books? It doesn't matter how many trees you kill so you can smell the "new book smell" or if you fill your shelves with books if you're not really going to read them because everything else in your life is more convenient.

All hail Amazon!

Amazon and the eBook

Amazon’s place in the market is incomparable, and the same can be said for their influence in the e-book industry. From the Kindle’s introduction to the public in 2007, the e-reader continues to be wildly successful. Much of its success can be attributed to the technology itself, offering e-ink screens with high readability, as well as the devices’ competitive price-points. The Kindle has gone through many iterations including seven generations with their own variants and most recently, Amazon has introduced several versions of the Kindle Fire, a device that utilizes a full-color touch screen and also supports multi-media such as movies, music, and the ability to download apps.

Originally, the Kindle was only available to US users but has since expanded to over 100 countries after its international launch in 2010. By far, it is users who have benefited most from the Kindle, whereas its effect on publishers and authors has been more mixed. In an effort to get as wide a distribution of the device as possible, Amazon has routinely sold devices at cost, as was the case for the Fire HD. This also allowed Amazon to sell devices at ultra-competitive pricing. The Kindle also offers users several features and a Kindle app that allows users access to their libraries on several devices including PC, Mac, Android, and iPhone, and ultimately merged with Samsung’s e-readers. Other features include multiple device downloads for titles, user-created annotations, and textbook rentals for students.

They have, however, failed users in notable ways and incited controversy in 2009 by withdrawing Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell after discovering the publisher did not have the rights to the titles. Amazon remotely deleted the content angering users who had left annotated notes they could no longer access, and, in one particular instance, lead to a lawsuit with a high school student in which Amazon was forced to remit $150,000 in a settlement.

Publishers, Hachette in particular, have also come to blows against Amazon in response to the severely-discounted prices at which they have sold e-book versions of their titles. Publishers were finding it incredibly difficult to compete and felt the company was directly hindering their ability to sell print versions, especially hardcovers when Amazon was offering a digital version for $9.99. This lead to many publishers making agreements with Apple and resulted in a lawsuit over collusion and price fixing that ultimately found in favor of Amazon. In this instance, the publishers’ loss is the consumers gain, as they continued to be able to purchase e-books at low rates.

For authors, Amazon has been both helpful and harmful. It has allowed self-publishers access to niche audiences and millions of users, as well as a platform to distribute their work which would otherwise be passed over by major publishers. Instead, it allows authors direct access to countless potential readers. For others, however, the low pricing has proved detrimental to author’s royalty rates. In terms of publishing, it is relatively simple for independent authors to publish using Kindle Direct Publishing. However, Kindle uses its own proprietary format (AZW/KF8) and does not support epub, meaning authors who choose to publish their books through Kindle only have their books accessible to Kindle users.

Despite their controversies, Amazon continues to dominate the market and remains extremely successful. They reported 5 billion in sales in 2014 alone. In order to maintain their hold on the market, Amazon will need to continue releasing devices at affordable rates, which already appears to be their goal. The Fire 7 was released in September of 2015 at $49.99 making it the lowest priced tablet released to date. Coupled with the competitively low price of e-books and over 300 million active Amazon accounts, it is likely Amazon will continue to dominate in the e-book space.

Amazon Oasis, or a Desert?

To me they are one and the same: e-book reader = Amazon Kindle. But there are many other existing options for e-books including the Apple iPad and the Nook. How did the Kindle become one of the more dominant and successful providers of e-books and e-readers?

I am ashamed (or proud?) to admit that I am a loyal Amazon customer. Amazon is almost a curse word in the print publishing world, representing all that is evil in the world, but especially predatory pricing.
This rivalry can probably be best summed up by an encounter related by George Packer of The New Yorker in his op-ed on Amazon. Roger Doeren of Rainy Day Books met Amazon founder Jeff Bezos at BookExpo America back in 1995, sitting by a sign that declared a young Amazon as “Earth’s Biggest Bookstore,” and the following conversation ensued:

 “Where is Earth’s biggest bookstore?”
 “Cyberspace,” Bezos replied.
 “We started a Web site last year. Who are your suppliers?”
 “Ingram, and Baker & Taylor.”
 “Ours, too. What’s your database?”
 “Books in Print.”
 “Ours, too. So what makes you Earth’s biggest?”
 “We have the most affiliate links”—a form of online advertising.
 Doeren considered this, then asked, “What’s your business model?”
 Bezos said that Amazon intended to sell books as a way of gathering data on affluent, educated shoppers. The  books would be priced close to cost, in order to increase sales volume. After collecting data on millions of customers, Amazon could figure out how to sell everything else dirt cheap on the Internet. (Amazon says that its original business plan “contemplated only books.”).
 Afterward, Doeren told his partner at Rainy Day Books, Vivien Jennings, “I just met the world’s biggest snake-oil salesman. It’s going to be really bad for books.”

Packer condemns, but also at the same time praises, Bezos’s business model. Extreme supporters of online book retailers and publishers claim that classic print publishers are a relic of the past, even that they do not have the customer’s best interests at heart when setting prices or delivering the books that they demand.

The Telegraph put out a rough timeline of e-books back in 2010, marking the beginning at the launch of Project Gutenberg back in 1971. Its next mark is in 1993 when Digital Book Inc. offers its customers a floppy disk containing 50 e-books, two years before Amazon begins selling printed books online. Amazon stuck with this format for a relatively long time—The Telegraph puts some of the first e-book reader sales in 1998, and Amazon didn’t launch its Kindle e-reader until 2007.

Apparently, Amazon had built enough of a customer base that they didn’t have to worry about being late to the e-reader party. According to Joe Roberts of Trusted Reviews, “Amazon's first e-reader, only released in the US, sold out in five and a half hours and remained unavailable for five months. It seems people at the time couldn't wait to pay the $400 necessary to get their hands on this bulky contraption with its strange slanted keyboard and angled edges.” I don’t remember the launch of the Kindle as a big wow moment in my personal history, but my mom, my dad, and I all own different versions of the Amazon Kindle. It’s like an insidious e-book invasion. Jeff Bercovici of Forbes isolated the numbers from the impassioned rhetoric of Packer’s article, reporting that 19.5% of all books sold in the U.S. are Kindle titles—and this was in 2014. And this article was published just months before the launch of Kindle Unlimited, an e-book subscription service for $9.99/month. This is actually more expensive than two other competing services, Scribd and Oyster.

Yet I am a subscriber to Amazon Prime and Amazon Unlimited. I buy into the perceived convenience. Perhaps I’m finally realizing the monopoly and monopsony that is Amazon. Will I stop buying from them? Probably not.