I’ve been laid low this past week by a bug that was both nasty and persistent. It’s been a very long time since something has knocked me out the way this did. What I didn’t realize was how long it had been working up to the final knock-out blow. Now, as I start feeling human again, I can look back and realize that I’d been ignoring it for several weeks — almost a month in fact. The lesson is that I have to start listening to my own advice and pay attention to what my body tells me. (Quit laughing, Sarah. I know I tell you this all the time.)
The problem is that I was entering the home stretch on one novel and had a good feel for how to finish another when this bug laid me out. These are two very different novels, not only in genre but in voice and feel. Worse, the next book in the Nocturnal Lives series was coming together in my head. Now, it’s all gone. I’m going to have to go back and reread the novel I was working on finishing and hope I can get back into that zone. Then I have to get into the second novel, something that is very different from what I usually write. My biggest concern is that I won’t get the ideas back for the Nocturnal Lives novel because, duh, I didn’t write them all down. (Bad Amanda!)
It also means I haven’t been paying as much attention to what’s been happening in publishing as I usually do. I know there was a flurry of twitter-talk about Random Penguin’s buy buttons disappearing for a brief period of time last week over on Amazon. The usual conspiracy theories rapidly emerged. Amazon was doing it in preparation of taking the Random House/Penguin ebooks off-sale if the publishers didn’t play nice. Amazon was doing it as an implied threat to all publishers. The last I saw, Amazon said it was a glitch in the system. Maybe it was, maybe it wasn’t. It doesn’t matter. The case of the disappearing buttons lasted for a very short time and occurred at a time when sales would not have been high. As I said, unless and until more information is known, it really doesn’t matter what happened or why. The buttons were restored and it was pretty much a case of no harm/no foul.
Then there was the story on the news last night about how Amazon is losing the e-reader market. I’m sure it doesn’t surprise any of you to know I heard the story and wondered if I’d somehow been transported to another reality. So, after doing my blog for Nocturnal Lives (my personal blog) this morning, I went looking for confirmation of the report. Color me not surprised to find out the reporter doing the story went for shock factor and not facts.
According to Publishers Weekly, Amazon’s Kindle family is used by 55% of e-book buyers. This is up from 48% for this time last year. Apple, with the iPhone and iPad, holds a 15% share of the market. This is up 2% over last year. It is interesting to note that the increase came from iPad use. According to PW, iPhone use as an e-reader fell 2% over the past year. Barnes & Noble’s Nook held steady at 14%. Note, however, that this is down from their high of 22% in the third quarter of 2010.
So where, you might ask, did the reporter come up with the headline that Amazon was losing the e-book reader battle? I wondered the same thing. So I checked the breakdown from PW and the light bulb went on. The Kindle, as opposed to the Kindle Fire, has seen decreasing use. It has fallen from 48% last year to 37% this year. Ooooh, that means the Kindle is dying.
No, it doesn’t. What it means is that there is still a large portion of the e-book buying public that wants a dedicated e-b0ok device. However, with the introduction of the Kindle Fire, those who want a multi-use tablet/e-book reader that doesn’t cost as much as a laptop have a viable option. All you have to do is look at those numbers to see what I mean. The second quarter of 2011 showed no Fire market. As for the second quarter of this year, Kindle Fire sales account for 18% of the e-book reader device sales. Not only does that cancel out the losses for the Kindle, but it increases the market share for the Kindle family by eight percentage points (if my math is right).
But saying that Amazon is increasing its hold on the e-book device market wasn’t nearly as exciting as saying the Kindle was dying. Sigh. Rolls eyes.
Now to go find breakfast and to start wading through all the emails and work that is waiting for me. Maybe I’ll even be able to get some writing done today.