While Apple prepares to unveil its Tablet device next week, another big player in the e-reader market – Amazon – is about to shake things up in a major way by announcing what amounts to an app store for Kindle.
According to The New York Times, Amazon’s Kindle devices and electronic bookstore now dominate a nascent but booming market, accounting for more than 70 percent of electronic reader sales and 80 percent of e-book purchases, according to some analysts.
And just like iPhone, there’s going to be lots of money to be made: developers will keep 70 percent of the revenue from app sales.
This is a huge development that completely changes the dynamics of the impending Tablet wars. Developers will suddenly have two huge new markets to target, content publishers will have some leverage in negotiating deals with Amazon and Apple, and consumers will have a lot more to think about when it comes to choosing which device sits in between their mobile phone and their desktop computer.
Depending on whether Apple sets an upper limit on pricing, its model could be much more appealing to publishers, who resent how Amazon has aggressively discounted their books. Amazon charges $9.99 for new releases and best sellers, a price that other e-book vendors, including Sony and Barnes & Noble, have effectively been forced to follow.
But publishers can anticipate another high-tech heavyweight entering the business: Google, which has its own plans to begin selling e-books.
Mike Shatzkin, chief executive of Idealog, which helps publishers develop digital strategies said, “The more companies that control consumer transactions, the more important the publishers’ role will be. If Apple enters this market, and in three months Google follows, we may be looking at a completely different e-book world in the next year.” [NYTimes via Mashable]
Here is Amazon’s official statement:
For the past two years, Amazon has welcomed authors and publishers to directly upload and sell content in the Kindle Store through the self-service Kindle publishing platform. Today, Amazon announced that it is inviting software developers to build and upload active content that will be available in the Kindle Store later this year. The new Kindle Development Kit gives developers access to programming interfaces, tools and documentation to build active content for Kindle–the #1 bestselling, most wished for, and most gifted product across all categories on Amazon. Developers can learn more about the Kindle Development Kit today at http://www.amazon.com/kdk/ and sign up to be notified when the limited beta starts next month.“We’ve heard from lots of developers over the past two years who are excited to build on top of Kindle,” said Ian Freed, Vice President, Amazon Kindle.“
The Kindle Development Kit opens many possibilities–we look forward to being surprised by what developers invent.” The Kindle Development Kit enables developers to build active content that leverages Kindle’s unique combination of seamless and invisible 3G wireless delivery over Amazon Whispernet, high-resolution electronic paper display that looks and reads like real paper, and long battery life of seven days with wireless activated. For example, Handmark is building an active Zagat guide featuring their trusted ratings, reviews and more for restaurants in cities around the world, and Sonic Boom is building word games and puzzles.
“As the leading worldwide publisher of mobile games, EA Mobile has had the privilege of collaborating with many dynamic and innovative companies in bringing exciting gaming experiences to new platforms,” says Adam Sussman, Vice President of Worldwide Publishing, EA Mobile. “Working with Amazon, we look forward to bringing some of the world’s most popular and fun games to Kindle and their users.”
Starting next month, participants in the limited beta will be able to download the Kindle Development Kit, access developer support, test content on Kindle, and submit finished content. Those wait-listed will be invited to participate as space becomes available. The Kindle Development Kit includes sample code, documentation, and the Kindle Simulator, which helps developers build and test their content by simulating the 6-inch Kindle and 9.7-inch Kindle DX on Mac, PC, and Linux desktops.