Amazon now offers Kindle for Blackberry

Blackberry users in the US who have been feeling left out of the e-book frenzy can now join the fray. Amazon has introduced a Beta version of Kindle for Blackberry.

At the Amazon site, you can either have an email sent to your Blackberry smart phone with a link to download, or simply go to in your Blackberry’s browser to begin a download.

The Beta version does not yet have search capabilities, or notes and highlights, but these features are to be added in the near future.

Are eBooks Too Cheap?

The pricing of e-books is a tricky balance. On the one hand, publishers and booksellers don’t want to undercut their print editions; on the other are ebook buyers who demand lower prices for a digital product that they can’t lend, resell or transfer.

‚ÄúThe concept that because a book is an e-book it should automatically be priced significantly lower than a paper book is one we don‚Äôt agree with,‚Äù said Carolyn Reidy, chief executive of Simon & Schuster. ‚ÄúWhat a consumer is buying is the content, not necessarily the format.‚Äù – NYT May 16, 2009 “Steal This Book (for $9.99)

Publishers, who sell ebooks to Amazon for 50% of their set retail price, no matter what the sale price is, are worried that Amazon’s pricing of ebooks at $9.99 is leading to reader expectations of cheap ebooks which may cease to exist when Amazon stops subsidizing the price of Kindle editions.

Simba Information has released a report noting that ebook prices between July 2008 and June 2009 have dropped at both and Sony’s ebook store.

In July 2008, the top 25 titles on Amazon’s bestseller list for the four weeks averaged $9.25 and the top 25 in June 2009 averaged $8.04 after decreasing fairly steadily during the interim. For Sony, after starting at $10.13 in July 2008 then increasing to $11.68 in November thanks to a few well selling bundles, the average price of the top 25 fell to $9.97 in June.

It’s true that a publishers costs do not disappear entirely with digitally delivered books. The costs of writing, editing and marketing are the same no matter how a book is published. A digital edition, while avoiding costs associated with shipping, warehousing, printing, binding and returns, still has some added costs incurred in conversion and testing.

And while sales remain low, those costs might actually keep publishers from earning as much as they’d like with their ebook editions.
However, like all publishing, there is an economy of scale here. If you spend the money to produce an ebook and only 200 copies are sold, each copy has cost you a considerable amount of money, so you’re probably losing money at $9.99 per book. If 2,000 copies are sold, your cost per copy is less and profit is greater.. If 2,000,000 copies are sold, your cost per copy is negligible, and $9.99 is a darn good price indeed.

The problem is that if you begin by pricing your books higher than the ebook buying public is willing to spend, you’ll never reach the scale where ebooks are a major profit center.

So, perhaps Amazon is doing publishers a favor by cutting their prices and taking the hit while it tries to take ebooks to the masses.

Readers have vehemently told the market that after paying for expensive readers with the promise of lower cost digital editions, they’re not willing to spend more than $9.99… even for their favorite authors. Rather than rant about what the market demands, publishers should pick a side. Either stop creating ebooks for Amazon and Sony bookstores, or work with digital booksellers to push sales to a point where the books can comfortably be supplied at the price the market demands.

How to Read ALL Your Favorite Blog Feeds on Your Kindle [For Free!]

Although I mostly use my Kindle for reading books and galleys, I also like to read the feeds from my favorite blogs on the go. While I can’t always keep up with my favorite blogs and news sites during the work day, I like the ability to scan the new items on my Kindle when I’m lounging outside on the weekend or waiting for dinner to cook during the week.

Amazon handily offers subscriptions to many blogs delivered by Whispernet, but unfortunately, not all my favorite blogs are available, and the cost to subscribe to all the blogs I’d like to receive would start to become prohibitive at $1 t o $2 per feed per month.

Since I don’t really require feeds to be delivered wirelessly — I’m quite happy to plug in my Kindle via USB while I’m working and not using it — I have been using an entirely different solution.

I have been using a piece of software called Calibre to manage my ebook library as well as delivery of ALL my chosen feeds, completely free of charge.


Calibre¬†automatically detects your Kindle when it’s attached, and it works much like iTunes does with Podcasts to update it’s feed list and sync your Kindle with the new content.


I update daily with the entire list of blogs from my Google Reader list, plus some Amazon forum feeds, and a few other feeds made available automatically by the software.

You choose when to update your feeds (I do it at 11am so that my Kindle is updated with the latest news and posts before I head for lunch), and everything else is automatic. ¬†There is a huge list of feeds that are built into the software, including the ability to grab your whole Google Reader list of blogs, and you can also create a custom source from any feed you want, from forums to your family’s blogs.


Calibre also works with many other ebook readers. Currently the SONY PRS 500/505/700, Cybook Gen 3, Amazon Kindle 1/2, Netronix EB600, Ectaco Jetbook, BeBook/BeBook Mini and the iPhone  are all supported.

How to Convert PDF files into Kindle Ebooks

The Kindle can display files in four different formats:

  • .TXT files (HTML files can be viewed if you change the extension to .txt as well)
  • .AZW files – Amazon’s own exclusive ebook format for the Kindle
  • .MOBI files – content formatted for the MobiPocket Reader
  • .PRC – These are the exact same format as .MOBI but were designed to be compatible with Palm PDAs

Odds are, though, that the bulk of the documents you have on your computer that you might wish to read on your Kindle are in PDF format. If you’re like me, you’ve got a lifetime of reading stored up in PDF files that you’ve been meaning to get around to “some day soon.” Adding them to your Kindle library would be a good way to make them more accessible, and make it far more likely that you’ll get around to reading all those files at one point or another.

Fortunately, there are a few ways you can convert your PDF files into formats accessible to your Kindle.

The first is by emailing your PDF file to your Kindle account email address. If you want the resulting ebook to be sent wirelessly, send the PDF as an attachment to (replacing yourusername with your actual Kindle username, of course). You’ll be charged a fee of 15 cents per megabyte for having the file delivered this way.

If you want to get your converted file without a fee, send the PDF as an attachment to The converted file will be sent back to you via email for free, and you can then transfer it to your Kindle via USB connection.

This method is not foolproof. Some files come out somewhat mangled, and you can’t use this method to convert any file that is very large or that has a password or DRM securing it.

The other method to convert PDF to Kindle-compatible files is the one I use most often. It works with some DRM-enabled PDFs — I use it with NetGalley files, for example — and does a pretty fair job of keeping the content, including images and tables, intact.

To proceed, you’ll need to download and install the MobiPocket Creator Publisher Edition from the website.

Once you’ve started the program, there’s an option to import a PDF file. After running the import feature you will have generated an HTML file which you can then “build” into a .prc file immediately, or you can choose to add a cover image, a table of contents, or metadata to the ebook first.

Once you’ve built the file, it’s a simple job to drag it over to your Kindle over a USB connection.

MobiPocket creator does a great job of reflowing the layout and removing headers and footers which would otherwise mar your newly created ebook.

Here Comes the eBook Price creep at Amazon

Several months have gone by since I first heard the speculation that Amazon, once it had cornered a significant share of the ebook market, would begin to raise prices on their ebooks. On the other hand, the accusation that publishers generally try to add some cash to their near empty wallets by padding ebook prices has also been around a long time.

On the Amazon forums, a user going by the handle “Knipfty” has been keeping track of Kindle eBook prices at According to Knipfty’s figures, 80% of all the new books added by Amazon since Jan 20 have been priced above $9.99.

This has caused some outrage with many Kindle users boycotting any title that costs more than $9.99.

Kindlerama noticed the beginnings of this price creep back in December. HT to Teleread for pointing out the new stats.

With many Kindle purchases spurred on by the assurance that, “ebooks are cheaper,” it will be interesting to see how far Amazon and the Kindle publishers are willing to push the prices, and how strong Kindle owners’ reactions become.