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Price of Amazon tablet hailed

The price of Amazon's new tablet device has been singled out as its most eye-catching feature although analysts feel it may not be a direct competitor to the iPad.

Amazon c.e.o. Jeff Bezos unveiled the device yesterday (29th September) along with the surprise introduction of several new models of the Kindle, including a new £89 version for the UK.

The Fire tablet will cost $199 with wi-fi, a seven-inch touch screen and access to Kindle books, music, video and games. The tablet is much less powerful than Apple's iPad.

Analyst Colin Sebastian told Bloomberg "the price point is the headline rather than the functionality”. He predicted Amazon would introduce a new version next year with greater functionality.

In an interview with Reuters, Tim Stevens, editor-in-chief of gadget review website Engadget, said: "People have been waiting for a tablet for 200 bucks for a long time and this is the best one I've seen so far."

Analyst Mark Gerber predicted a "bloodbath" as pricing on tablet devices gets "extremely aggressive". He said Amazon would sell at least 3m Fires by Christmas.

While analysts saw Amazon directly taking on Apple as one of the most significant implications of yesterday's news, the big loser in Fire's unveiling could be Barnes & Noble. Writing in the Guardian, Dan Gillmor said: "The Nook Color, a 7-inch tablet launched last year by the bookstore chain, costs a competitive $250 and has decent hardware for the price. Yet Barnes & Noble made [a] strategic error. Even though the Nook Color—created by a talented Silicon Valley team the company assembled—runs on Android, the operating system was deliberately crippled, preventing it from running a
customer's choice of Android apps."

The Fire will run on a modified version of the Android operating system and is pushing customers towards its own app store.

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Just think of all the trees we will save

Baxian is right. And how many publishers are looking over their shoulders thinking, 'yikes, we better get digital fast, before the competitors do'. Fire will allow decent illustrated non-fiction to go digi in a way that hasn't been possible except for high end users. That means a lot of the swag editions that currently make up the 'still millions of paper books' being sold could go with them. Expect a fire sale (nice pun!) followed by a plunge in printed versions.

Er...not so:

"The decline in printed book sales appears largely due to the transfer of sales from print to digital, with recent reports from many UK publishers suggesting digital book sales now account for around 9-10% of their overall book sales compared to 4-5% last year.

According to Nielsen BookScan top 5,000 bestseller list data for the 38 weeks to 24th September period, sales of novels have been hit the most by the migration to digital. With fiction titles dominating the Amazon Kindle, Apple iBooks and Waterstones.com e-book charts, spending on novels in 2011 is down approximately 10% year-on-year."

moan moan moan... more books are being sold than ever! Stop it!

Ah, yes Chris but how much of that 90% is sold through Amazon, Tesco, Sainsburys et al? And by this time next year where do we expect the level of ebook sales to be? 20%?

Can we get some perspective. 90% of book sales at the moment are of paper books.

My thoughts exactly. It would appear to me - as a lowly independent standing on the shores of the trade (and soon to pack up and go home) - that the book business has sailed away on electronic tides rather faster than anyone expected. With publishers contemplating filling Amazon's sails (sales) with 90% discount one suspects that Waterstones is seriously holed below the waterline. (That's enough sailing metaphors - Ed).

So is James Daunt still confident Waterstone's can compete with a "Wook" device?

So is James Daunt still confident Waterstone's can compete with a "Wook" device?

My thoughts exactly. It would appear to me - as a lowly independent standing on the shores of the trade (and soon to pack up and go home) - that the book business has sailed away on electronic tides rather faster than anyone expected. With publishers contemplating filling Amazon's sails (sales) with 90% discount one suspects that Waterstones is seriously holed below the waterline. (That's enough sailing metaphors - Ed).

Can we get some perspective. 90% of book sales at the moment are of paper books.

Ah, yes Chris but how much of that 90% is sold through Amazon, Tesco, Sainsburys et al? And by this time next year where do we expect the level of ebook sales to be? 20%?

moan moan moan... more books are being sold than ever! Stop it!

Er...not so:

"The decline in printed book sales appears largely due to the transfer of sales from print to digital, with recent reports from many UK publishers suggesting digital book sales now account for around 9-10% of their overall book sales compared to 4-5% last year.

According to Nielsen BookScan top 5,000 bestseller list data for the 38 weeks to 24th September period, sales of novels have been hit the most by the migration to digital. With fiction titles dominating the Amazon Kindle, Apple iBooks and Waterstones.com e-book charts, spending on novels in 2011 is down approximately 10% year-on-year."

Baxian is right. And how many publishers are looking over their shoulders thinking, 'yikes, we better get digital fast, before the competitors do'. Fire will allow decent illustrated non-fiction to go digi in a way that hasn't been possible except for high end users. That means a lot of the swag editions that currently make up the 'still millions of paper books' being sold could go with them. Expect a fire sale (nice pun!) followed by a plunge in printed versions.

Just think of all the trees we will save