Amazon.com is reportedly preparing a Kindle-centric response to Google's new eBooks platform.
Amazon.com is reportedly planning a Kindle for Web application, which would
allow users to purchase e-books via a Website and then read those titles in
An Amazon spokesperson reportedly described the application to Computerworld
Dec. 6. At the moment, users can download Kindle software for the iPhone,
Windows PC, Mac, BlackBerry, iPad, Android and Windows Phone 7 devices.
At least in theory, a Kindle for Web application would counterprogram
Google's new foray into the e-books arena. It would also give Amazon yet
another competitive differentiator in its longer-running battle against other
e-book retailers such as Barnes & Noble and Apple.
Google eBooks launched Dec. 6, as the search-engine giant evidently moves to
bite off its own piece of a market already dominated by big-name brands such as
Amazon, Apple, and Barnes & Noble. Google will offer up 3 million eBooks
from the eBookstore
, with support
for both ePub and PDF formats, and include software for reading titles on
Google Android and Apple iOS devices. Google eBooks without digital rights
management will be available for Kindle.
has also begun a retailer and affiliate program
, which makes titles
available online via independent bookstores such as Powell's in Portland,
Ore. Roughly 200 independent bookstores
will participate in this program, with revenue split between reseller,
publisher and Google.
Amazon and Google face a substantial threat from the Apple iPad, according
to a recent survey by ChangeWave Research. Based on a survey of 2,800 consumers,
the firm concluded that the iPad's share of the e-reader market had expanded
from 16 percent to 32 percent between August and November, even as the Kindle's
dipped from 62 percent to 47 percent.
The Kindle maintained a substantial lead in that survey over the Sony
Reader, with 5 percent of the market, and Barnes & Noble's Nook franchise
at 4 percent.
Of current iPad and Kindle owners, some 75 percent reported being "very
satisfied" with the iPad, versus 54 percent of Kindle owners. In the context of
content, iPad owners also tended to consume more newspapers, magazines and
blogs on their device than Kindle owners.
To succeed in the e-books space, Google would have to squeeze between these
two competitors. Amazon currently offers 750,000-plus titles for purchase on
Kindle, versus Apple's 60,000 via its iBookstore. Google may be counting on its
open platform holding more appeal to a certain subset of users.