The Kindle spread continues, and hot on the heels of Amazon's pledge to put a Kindle app on the new BlackBerry PlayBook comes the news that the online retailer now has a web-based version. Kindle for the Web doesn't allow full access to Amazon's ebooks, but you can read a book sample online rather than having to download it to your device, and it means other sites can embed those samples and even earn referral fees on subsequent ebook sales.
Apple is quietly making a push for self-publishing authors, adding native ePUB support to the latest version of its iWork suite of office apps. Pages 4.0.4 now allows writers to save their masterpieces as ePUB files, the same format that the company uses for its iBooks ereader app on the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch.
No great surprise, given the constantly slipping ship date for new orders, but Amazon has confirmed that the new Kindles are the fastest-selling models of the three generations. In fact, with the first shipments only going out today, the online retailer says the ereaders are their best selling products.
Amazon's third-gen Kindles are still sold out - even before the first ones ship - but that hasn't stopped the retailer opening the doors at their Kindle UK store. As well as the Kindle 3G + WiFi and Kindle WiFi themselves, listed for £149 and £109 respectively, Amazon is now selling ebooks priced in local UK currency; previously, titles were purchased from the US Kindle store and priced in US dollars.
Irex's demise may not be quite so clear cut; while the ereader company filed for bankruptcy back in June, Dutch financial site Fd.nl is reporting that having secured new financing they're looking to restart operations. As of September 1st 2010 the company will relaunch as IRX Innovations, focusing on the business and enterprise market rather than the competitive consumer segment.
Barnes & Noble has put itself up for sale, potentially handing the company's nook ebook reader into the hands of rivals such as Amazon. The move is part of a broader strategy exploring ways to turn around its ailing share price; according to the WSJ's sources, a private equity company is most likely to pick up chain, but there's also the possibility that Amazon themselves could step in and use an acquisition to further bolster their ebook market share.
Amazon's third-generation Kindle models sold out in less than a week, but the company itself doesn't sound too surprised at the high demand. According to Ian Freed, VP in charge of the Kindle, 80-percent of ebooks they sell are to owners of physical Kindle hardware, and Amazon still reckons it has 70 to 80-percent of the ebook market, despite what rivals may claim.
There's no shortage of headline features for Amazon's third-generation Kindles - new, lower pricing, the inclusion of WiFi, E Ink's updated Pearl display - but there are quite a few quietly tweaked additions that could promise an even more interesting future. A Kindle World spotted the inclusion of a microphone - currently unused - together with a few other tidbits, that has already prompted some to suggest a voice-enabled Kindle could be on Amazon's roadmap.
Sharp has announced plans to launch a Kindle rival, complete with both ebook distribution services and ereader devices. At a press event in Japan, the company showed two prototypes, both using LCD displays rather than e-ink panels like Amazon's ereader; that will allow readers to also play audio and video content.
We can't imagine Apple is quite seeing the storming sales success that Kindle is right now, but the company has just pushed out a new version of iBooks - v1.1.1 - which should help take the iPad fight to the e-ink based ereader. That's because iBooks v1.1.1 adds support for "books that include audio and video", something currently beyond the existing Kindle.
Amazon may have been pushed into lowering the price of their Kindle ebook reader after Barnes & Noble laid down the gauntlet with their nook discount, but it sounds like the decision ended up doing them a significant favor. The Kindle sales growth rate has apparently tripled since the $70 reduction in June, while sales of ebooks have eclipsed sales of hardcover books.