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Thread: Buying Kindle Books (quickie market research)

  1. #1
    Moderator Kay is a Premium Member
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    Buying Kindle Books (quickie market research)

    I'd be glad of your input if you have time to answer a few quick questions. Many thanks.

    I've come to the conclusion that a lot of people won't buy Kindle books because they don't fully understand what they are. Picture the scene:

    "Buy my Kindle eBook!"

    "Nah, I don't have a Kindle."

    "But you don't need a Kindle! You can download a free app and read it on your phone, tablet or computer. It's easy."

    "Nah, it all sounds like too much bother. Is there another way to read it?"

    Now, I know that everyone here is much too intelligent and well educated to think in such a way. But can you see any truth in the scenario? I made it up, but I've really come to believe that this is probably the case for a lot of the population. Am I being overly pessimistic or does just about everyone read Kindle books these days?

    I've become quite disillusioned with Kindle (and my masterpiece about insects has only sold five copies in total since I published it in February. Very depressing. Insects are fascinating!). For my next trick I'm going to try Gumroad or similar and sell PDFs instead.

    Would you prefer to buy a PDF eBook rather than a Kindle eBook? Would it not matter to you? Please give reasons for your answers.

    I think ease of purchase and use are going to be big factors. If you already have a Kindle device and/or apps, then you just click the "buy" button. If you're not in the habit of doing that, then I suppose it is a bit of a faff to buy your first Kindle book.
    British Expat - helping people to live and work abroad since the year 2000.

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    Administrator Clinton is a Premium Member
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    Am I being overly pessimistic or does just about everyone read Kindle books these days?
    I'm a dinosaur. I never read a Kindle book. I never owned a Kindle. I didn't know you could download an app to read Kindle books (why is everybody calling them Kindle books then? Seems a bit stupid to give Kindle free publicity for something that has nothing to do with them).

    "Nah, it all sounds like too much bother. Is there another way to read it?"

    Now, I know that everyone here is much too intelligent and well educated to think in such a way.
    Er, you're forgetting people like me. I probably wouldn't download a Kindle book as a) I wouldn't know where to go (Amazon? But all the "Kindle" books I've ever seen there had a price and if I'm paying I want paper) and b) I'm not into kissing millions of frogs in the hope that one of them will turn into a princess (rhetorical: How do I judge quality? I don't trust reviews).

    Saying that, I do have a large collection of pdf books though - pdf because they are not in print or because I value the author's opinion and am willing to "suffer" reading his material on a screen if pdf is the only distribution medium.

    I am probably not your typical customer/target!
    Find the right business brokers to maximise the value you extract from your business and improve the chances of selling your business.

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    Publishing Mentor dsieg58 is a Premium Member
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    I've come to the conclusion that a lot of people won't buy Kindle books because they don't fully understand what they are.
    I remember the same arguments about "eBooks" (.pdf's) in 2000. "They" also said then that eBooks would "never" compete with "real" books.

    I made it up, but I've really come to believe that this is probably the case for a lot of the population. Am I being overly pessimistic or does just about everyone read Kindle books these days?
    I think in some cases you're right, but in others you're generalizing. You've got an entire generation now who has known nothing BUT eBooks, and iPads, and reading from a screen. They use them in schools. Textbooks are being "printed" in Kindles. You've got another generation who say "Kindle? Nothing but pdf's for me!" then another that says "What's a computer?" Like them, or hate them, Kindles has revolutionized print media and it is only going to get bigger. I was amazed yesterday when I was researching textbooks and saw how many of them are now on Kindle "to rent" at prices only slightly lower than print. So the trend for youth (Who will soon be adults) is towards Kindles and mobile formats.

    For my next trick I'm going to try Gumroad or similar and sell PDFs instead...Would you prefer to buy a PDF eBook rather than a Kindle eBook?
    Truthfully, they're the same to me. I think you're forgetting that the reason why many of us went to Kindle in the first place was marketing eBooks, DRM, ebook theft, unable to SEO, was becoming too competitive and we weren't making a living at it anymore. I have no problems going backwards in my marketing, but I'm not sure selling just .pdf's is the answer. I guess I'd like to hear a plan as to how to overcome the disadvantages above and come out ahead without Amazon.

    Also, something else I take into consideration in my marketing is "momentum," or the general direction of the trend. Trends tend to go the way of least resistance and that ease you were talking about "one click" buying, is also a trend. As I've said in other posts, with .pdf's you have, (Or at least I did) had an 80% abandonment rate at the shopping cart. So once I get them to my page, and once I get to click the "buy now" button, 80% go away before buying. Nothing I ever did, and believe me, I tried everything, made the slightest difference. Even Amazon had the same problem. So they completely did away with the "shopping cart" in between and invented "one click." When you have a 1% conversion rate, and you'll have to work to get that, then 80% abandon the sale at the shopping cart, you're going to need a lot of traffic to overcome that inertia. Which goes back to SEO and generating the 10's of thousands of unique visitors needed.

    My point is, the trend of publishing and book buying is away from .pdf and toward more mobile formats.

    My opinion only.
    Last edited by dsieg58; 7 April 2014 at 8:54 am.

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    Top Contributor crabfoot is a Premium Member
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    The potential for bogus copying is much greater with pdf than with Kindle books, but it is not an impossibility to copy a Kindle book.
     
    If you want to make legit copies for your own use, Kindle books are a PITA. In a related vein, someone I know recently got a new computer and was really upset to find he couldn't copy his music library from his old machine - says he's sticking to CDs and vinyl from now on. And he's a respected old rock guitarist who knows about bootleg risks.
    There's a conundrum for you ...

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    Publishing Mentor dsieg58 is a Premium Member
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    In a related, (But unrelated) topic, Amazon’s Vision for the Future of Self-Publishing Like I said above, it pays to "look around corners" and try to understand trends so as to not get caught on the wrong side of them. Amazon's Chief of Author and Publishing, Jon Fine said

    “We’ve created this tsunami of content,” said Fine. “It’s a high class problem to have too many stories. We, as tech companies, publishers, authors, service providers, have to find ways to help stories find the right audience. This discoverability problem is the next big challenge.”
    Amazon is aware of the problem and is working on it. This tells me to expect more changes in the future which will have a direct impact on targeting, and new ways that the cream will find its way to the top.

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    really upset to find he couldn't copy his music library from his old machine
    That's one of my motives for storing most of my data in Dropbox or other cloud storage spaces. The sheer hassle of recovering from a defunct or obsolete computer compensates for any worries about some company holding my data. (The first time a PC died on me, I plugged the drive in as a second disk on my new one).

    With the volumes we are selling, DRM is surely counterproductuve. I doubt whether it helps the big guys, either. (Anyone remember the days when you needed a dongle to run Autocad?).

    I think David has the right perspective on the problem. Everyone can read both PDFs and Kindle format on just about any device that connects to the net. Keeping the funnel short (one click) and making your product visible on a popular and trusted site must be the most important things. Site popularity vs your own visibility on the site are what you trade. For a while, I have been doing well with one book in a small niche on the huge Amazon site, but I'm beginning to worry now - I haven't sold anything for 48 hours.

    Clinton - you can read a sample of most Kindle books before you purchase. My complaint is that Amazon doesn't let you choose the contents of that sample.

    [edit - to answer your question instead of waffling on]

    I actually prefer reading PDFs because Acrobat works better. If formatting is important, PDF is way ahead. But I am more likely to impulse buy a Kindle book because Amazon is set up with 'Look inside' previews and one-click purchase.
    Last edited by Chabrenas; 7 April 2014 at 11:28 am.

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  11. #7
    Publishing Mentor dsieg58 is a Premium Member
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    With the volumes we are selling, DRM is surely counterproductuve.
    There is a time and place for it. If you're selling $2.99 Kindles, in fiction or nonfiction on Amazon, I don't think DRM is going to help you. (And it will hurt you) If you're selling .pdf's worth 100's of dollars and prone to theft, it's different. But still, DRM WILL hurt your sales. Since doing away with DRM myself and having my main book as a print edition, and bonus material in .pdf I haven't had one return, or one complaint. (Been almost a year) Before I was having constant complaints, refunds, and problems with the DRM. Now I get complaints of "What happened to the eBooks?"

    Moral of the story? With DRM you're screwed if you do, and screwed if you don't.

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    Moderator Kay is a Premium Member
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    [Edit - posted before I'd seen the latest couple of posts.]

    It might be worth looking at the different markets for fiction and non-fiction. I was really talking about non-fiction in the OP as I've never written any fiction (yet).

    With non-fiction it's kinda hard to get noticed in Amazon because their best seller lists are swamped with fiction, especially fiction in the latest flavour of the month. If you're selling non-fiction, you probably have more diverse little markets to sell in elsewhere - depending on your niche, of course. My next eBook projects are business-related. I can think of loads of places where I could try to sell PDFs. Trying to sell the same content (about earning money online) on Kindle would put me squarely up against the MMO brigade in the same niche. And people want to read about how easy it is to get rich in five minutes. They don't want to read my kind of stuff. So I think I'll do better away from the Kindle market.

    I might even get people like Clinton to buy a copy of my latest scribblings.

    I don't want to get too much into the marketing on Kindle side of things here because that's already been well tackled in the Premium Lounge. I'm just suggesting that for some of us our audience may not be Kindle fans.

    Would anyone reading this thread please tell us if you read Kindle books or not?
    British Expat - helping people to live and work abroad since the year 2000.

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    Publishing Mentor dsieg58 is a Premium Member
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    Would anyone reading this thread please tell us if you read Kindle books or not?
    Of course. All the time. Everyday. (but I don't READ them off my "Kindle." I read them from my tablet or computer) But I also read .pdf's, and print paperbacks too. Do you mean the Kindle device, or the Kindle format?

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    Moderator Kay is a Premium Member
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    I read Kindle books all the time too, on my Kindle device and on my computer. But I write books for the Kindle market so I might not be the average buyer. Same as you might not be.

    When I asked if people read Kindle books, I meant do people go to Amazon and buy books in the Kindle format. If they buy the books, it's irrelevant how they choose to read them. It's whether or not they buy them or not. Actually, not even "buy". Try "read" instead. Some of us are getting dozens of free books every week from Kindle. Some pretty darned good ones too.

    To those who haven't yet discovered Kindle books. You are missing out on an amazing free library. Sure, there's plenty of dross but there's also loads of really good stuff for free and it's not hard to find. And you don't even need to be technically-minded to do this. You just choose your free app to download from the Kindle store in Amazon. And there's free books galore too. There are various ways of finding them. There are even websites dedicated to finding and sorting the latest freebies for you.

    That all sounds as though I'm being evangelical about Kindle. Well, I do love it for myself. But I've not changed my opinion that a lot of my potential audience aren't going to be converted.
    British Expat - helping people to live and work abroad since the year 2000.

    The joy of Internet delivery - the cartoon illustrating this will make you laugh!



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