Bad news, everyone: Researchers are claiming the smart-but-neglected nerds don’t actually win in the end. It turns out that, in the long run, the more popular kids actually make more money. No word on how a makeover changes things. [The Atlantic Wire]
A Norwegian woman who somehow angered Amazon found her Kindle account frozen and access to her ebooks blocked, for an unexplained infraction. This serves as a nice reminder that unless you own something IRL, you only kinda own it. [GigaOm]
In what’s likely evidence of testing going on at Twitter HQ, some users are reporting seeing the terms “star” and “like” pop up in the place of “favorite.” [TheNextWeb]
Wal-Mart is investing quite a substantial bit of time, money and effort in its Facebook marketing efforts this holiday season. So don’t fuck up, Zuck. [Wired]
Small businesses, unfortunately, can’t quite count on flying under the radar so as to avoid cybercriminals. [ReadWrite]
Apple is livestreaming today’s press conference, which is likely to be the occasion for the unveiling of the iPad Mini. [TheNextWeb]
The Future of the Ebook
Citing unnamed sources and an internal memo, Reuters reports that Walmart will stop selling Amazon.com’s Kindle line of tablets and e-readers. According to Reuters the memo said Walmart’s decision was in keeping with its general marketing strategy.
Target Corp. ceased selling Amazon devices last Spring, after deciding Amazon’s sales tactics were working against the retailer’s best interests.
Good news for cheapskates, bad news for traditional publishing: “Agency pricing,” which many in the book business had hoped would prove a defense against Amazon’s discounting every new book to $9.99, is pretty much finito as of today.
A bit of background: At issue is the agency model, which first came into play when Apple debuted the iPad and began talking to publishers about ebooks. Apple liked the sound of an agency model, where publishers would set the price and and Apple would merely act as agent, taking a cut of the transaction. This looked like a way of finally breaking Amazon’s iron-fisted insistence on charging $9.99 for a standard new release, which would otherwise go for $25.00 in print.
Here’s the new Amazon Kindle. It has a “paperwhite” backlit display. [The Verge]
Facebook set to launch email and phone number-based ad targeting this week which is only mildly creepy. [TechCrunch]
Fantasizing about ditching email is porn for tech people, basically. [Planet Krypton]
Reddit tackles the important questions: “If you have one GIF to represent you on your tombstone when you die, what would it be?” [Reddit]
Netflix video streaming accounts for 25 percent of all Internet data transmitted in North America. But it’s so worth it for all those Arrested Development marathons. [Yahoo]
The Future of the Ebook
Zynga insiders dumped a whole bunch of their stock just before it crashed. That doesn’t sound sketchy at all! [Yahoo]
More and more cyberattacks are being launched against U.S. infrastructure. Okay, but does the malware play AC/DC? [New York Times]
Amazon saw a 96 percent drop in Q2 profits. We’re guessing you’re not reading this on a Kindle, then. [Wall Street Journal]
The Verge uncovered top secret old Apple product prototypes. [The Verge]
How will Google fiber make money, and what does it mean for already-established broadband companies? [GigaOm]
It’s a common refrain (one that’ll be especially familiar to, let’s say, romance fans): Hey, isn’t it great that, once you get a Kindle/Nook/iPad, no one can see what you’re reading? Now we’re forever free from those awkward subway moments when we pull out our trashy novel and realize it’s a little too lurid for the L train on a Saturday night.
Well, a bit of bad news for the bookish and private. The Wall Street Journal would like you to know that whoever sold you that ebook–whether it’s Amazon, Apple, or whoever–actually is paying attention to what you read. For one thing, maybe be careful what you highlight?
XXX in Tech
Hard on the heels of last week’s Facebook phone rumors comes new smartphone pot-stirring on the part of Wired. The question: Why shouldn’t Amazon take its foothold in the tablet market and tackle smartphones? Uh, we can think of a couple of reasons.
This isn’t the first mention of an Amazon smartphone. Back in November, All Things D got hold of a note that predicted the device would be launched by the end of the year, based on backdoor intel (called channel checks) from Amazon’s Asian suppliers. The memo suggests the phone would cost $150 to $170 to build–and of course, Amazon has never been shy about cutting it close on margins. Now that it’s already May, Wired runs the pros and cons. The ability to sell on its own homepage is not to be underestimated as an advantage. ABI Research analyst Aapo Markkanen–who calls a smartphone “a logical next step” for Amazon–points to the “lock-in effect” of the company’s content ecosystem:
As students of Gothic literature and Keanu Reeves fans know, Bram Stoker’s Dracula is that rare classic that offers high-brow cover for what is essentially a sex romp through Transylvania. As author Maria Cruz found, it also makes for good plagiarizing.
You see, when Amazon opened up its Kindle Select program to indie publishers and self-published authors, it left the door ajar for plagiarists. As Adam Penenberg points out in Fast Company, that problem is particularly rampant in the erotica genre.
Accidentally embarrassing spam faux pas? All the cool corporations are doing it these days. A week or so after The New York Times sent out an email about cancelled home delivery that was supposed to go out to 300 people and instead went out to 8 million, Amazon committed its own spamming PR debacle.
As AllThingsD reports, Amazon had to issue an apology last night to Kindle owners who received a notice about automatic enrollment for a subscription to something called the Kindle Compass that: 1. they didn’t sign up for and 2. “would automatically continue at the monthly subscription rate” if they did nothing. Nothing like hearing that the mere act of going about your day as usual now comes with a mysterious additional fee.
There was a reason Jeff Bezos came all the way to New York to unveil Amazon’s new suite of Kindle e-readers and tablet devices. Like the iPad the Kindle is first and foremost a device for consuming media, with the new Kindles going beyond the book to offer music, television and movies as well. And the Big Apple’s high end publishers are thrilled to have a second dance partner for the party beyond Apple.
As the NY Times reports, Amazon’s new Kindle Fire tablet will come with a digital newsstand front-and-center where users can buy magazines and newspapers. To glossy publishers, this sounds like a haven from a digital world dominated by Angry Birds.