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Deciphering the ebook code

Well, Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol is getting a lot of press. It reminds me a bit of the joke about Paris Hilton— she got famous for being rich, and now she's getting rich for being famous. Dan Brown is selling books partly because of how much press his book sales are getting.

But another interesting facet of his latest blockbuster is that it's selling really well as an ebook. On Amazon, the Kindle version was outselling the hardcover, at least for a while. So, will this trend persist? And what does the success of the Kindle version tell us?

The obvious answer might be that it's actually easier to sell a 528 page book in digital form (regardless of price, although that was a little more than $7.00 difference on Amazon; I'm sure that helped). Who really wants a book that functions well as a doorstop? This is especially true with a suspense/puzzle-solving story. I know folks who read Dan Brown, but I don't know folks who re-read him. Another reason might be that by making the ebook launch concurrent, Brown was able to capitalize on all that press.

And thirdly, Amazon was smart to make Kindle books available on the iPhone/iTouch platform, as the number of Kindle copies of The Lost Symbol sold quite probably exceeds the number of Kindles sold (hard to say for sure since Jeff Bezos is so shy about giving out numbers).

Maybe this book will be Kindle's Paris Hilton moment? Some of those Dan Brown fans who are poring over 528 pages on their iPhones (must be about 2,000 screens, at least), may just go out and buy Kindles so they can finish the book in comfort.

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( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 17th, 2009 06:24 pm (UTC)
I have to tell you, though I haven't commented on any of your ebook posts, I do read them. I find them very enlightening. I don't comment because I am not technology-friendly. It intimidates me, mostly because things of an electronic nature tend to blow up in my hands, whether figuratively or literally. Ebooks intrigue me, yet they frighten me to know end! Silly of me. But thanks to your posts, I don't feel as ebook-stupid as I used to.
Sep. 17th, 2009 06:29 pm (UTC)
Well, you know, lots of people are like that. When I take my Kindle out in the dentist's or doctor's office, someone almost always asks me what it is-- except now they say, "Is that a Kindle?" where they used to say, "What the heck is that?"

It's the only time in my life I was ever an early adopter! We just got cable TV (actually FiOS) and I still don't own an iPod.

Sep. 17th, 2009 06:38 pm (UTC)
I would only buy a Shuffle--because there are only seven functions. On. Off. Rewind. Fastforward. Pause. Shuffle. End of story.
Sep. 17th, 2009 06:40 pm (UTC)
Do you know my husband's car is iPod compatible? It even came with cables to hook up the iPod. I was amazed.
Sep. 17th, 2009 06:43 pm (UTC)
Mine too! All newer cars do. It's crazy. Who needs a CD player anymore?

You know what's funny though--despite having my shuffle loaded with all my writing music, I still play the CDs in the computer rather than use the shuffle. That I save for when I'm away and need to cancel out distractions!
Sep. 17th, 2009 06:47 pm (UTC)
I am the least musical person I know. I only play music at Christmas when I play traditional carols. I don't play music when I write because to me IT is the distraction.
Sep. 17th, 2009 06:53 pm (UTC)
Ah, and this is why I play only soundtracks. They're meant to be in the background, to accentuate what's happening. I stick to the epics: LOTR, Harry Potter, that sort of thing. It it has words--forget it!
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

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