Is Amazon using Wish List entries to pre-position inventory?

This happened: I had a book on my Amazon wish list for several months.

Yesterday, I finally placed the order at around 3pm and today the book is in my hands, just about 24 hours later. And this is with regular Prime shipping, which is supposedly two days.

I wonder. Amazon is pretty clever. What if they used the presence of a book on wish lists as a clue to where to inventory the books, in effect pre-positioning them closer to the probable shipping destination. Wouldn’t that be clever?

Of course a book on the wish list may or may not be ordered. And also, you wouldn’t preposition a single book in Massachusetts because Pito might decide to order it.

But let’s say you forecast that you are likely going to be selling 100 copies of this book in the next 30 days – it was a fairly geeky book, so not one that would sell in huge numbers. You might put 50 copies in a warehouse on the west coast and 50 in one on the east coast.

Or you might come up with a probability calculation of where in the US any particular book or category of book would be ordered from – City by City, State by State or something like that. And when you received inventory from the publishers you could distribute it according to this forecast.

Or it was just a fluke… Still I am pretty impressed.

Support your local bookstore

I have a warm spot in my heart for independent bookstores, as such a store paid for my college education. My family business was a bookstore. It is no longer around however, having gone out of business years ago. Blame Amazon?

Secondly, I read lots of books, and own even more. (Yes that implies that I buy books that I don’t read. I don’t feel bad about that. I enjoy books.)

Thirdly, I love, I mean, I LOVE Amazon.com. What convenience, what great prices, what free shipping. I even own some AMZN stock. In truth I bet in the last year I spent more money on books at Amazon than from local bookstores.

See the conundrum coming?

Whenever I am in a strange town, or out ‘shopping’ or on vacation, I can spend lots of time browsing bookstores. I will buy books sometimes, and sometimes I will write down book titles for later consideration, or even later Amazonning. Ok, so I am conflicted about this whole thing.

I would be very sad to see the local bookstore close.

Oh wait, the local bookstore in the town I live closed years ago. (We still have a used bookstore, which I frequent.)

I don’t have a punchline. I am not sure how I feel about this. Should I stop shopping at Amazon and give up the convenience and good prices? Should I never order a book on Amazon that I first saw in a local bookstore?

Here are three articles on this very topic, for your fascination:

A letter from the owner of a great local bookstore, the Harvard Bookstore in Harvard Square, Cambridge Mass.

Amazon should partner with independent bookstores, an article suggesting ways in which the two could benefit mutually. Hmm, perhaps a fantasy.

Amazon’s Jungle Logic, an Anti-Amazon screed from a set of authors.

 

Weight of tablets

I’ve been playing around with each of the major tablets while considering ‘my next move’ 🙂

Oddly I have not been able to find a side by side comparison of their weights. After googling for 3 minutes. So as a public service let me transcribe my notes on this vital topic.

  • Apple iPad 2: 21.1 oz
  • Barnes and Nobel Nook Color: 15.8 oz
  • Amazon Kindle Fire: 14.6 oz
  • Barnes and Nobel Nook Tablet: 14.1 oz
  • Amazon Kindle Touch: 7.8 oz
  • Amazon Kindle 4: 5.9 oz

 

Pogue does not love the new Kindle Fire

I was excited to hear about the Kindle Fire. But I was waiting to read some impartial reviews of one before running off and buying one. After all I am a big fan of the Kindle (gen 2) and enjoy reading books on Kindles. And, believe it or not, I don’t yet own an iPad.

So the Fire seems like a match made in heaven, right?

Well, today David Pogue, tech reporter of the New York Times kind of reviewed the Fire (along with the other new, low end Kindles.) Well, the punchline is, he loves the new inexpensive Kindles, but he does NOT love the new Fire, which by the way, isn’t ‘expensive’ at $200, it’s just less incredibly cheap than the other new models. Here’s a short bit:

(Admitedly the most negative paragraph:)

“Most problematic, though, the Fire does not have anything like the polish or speed of an iPad. You feel that $200 price tag with every swipe of your finger. Animations are sluggish and jerky — even the page turns that you’d think would be the pride of the Kindle team. Taps sometimes don’t register. There are no progress or “wait” indicators, so you frequently don’t know if the machine has even registered your touch commands. The momentum of the animations hasn’t been calculated right, so the whole thing feels ornery.” (from David Pogue in the New York Times)

By the way there are lots of other Fire reviews on the web today.

Amazon provides free hosting for public data sets

If you work with non-profit projects that collect or disseminate large amounts of public data, you would find this interesting.

Amazon offers FREE storage for huge public datasets. So in otherwords, Amazon’s ‘cloud based’ storage service (known as S3) will offer, for no charge, to store a dataset if it is open to the public and somehow for the public good.

From their site:

“Public Data Sets on AWS provides a centralized repository of public data sets that can be seamlessly integrated into AWS cloud-based applications. AWS is hosting the public data sets at no charge for the community, and like all AWS services, users pay only for the compute and storage they use for their own applications. Learn more about Public Data Sets on AWS and visit the Public Data Sets forum.” (from Amazon’s Public Data Sets)

Here’s the link: http://aws.amazon.com/datasets

Kindle book prices: another genius move

Take a book that I was interested in, “The Lords of Finance”, by Liaquat Ahamed. This is a brand new book, very timely that I heard mentioned on TV.

Prices:

I think this might again turn the publishing world upside down. Questions:

  1. Will it cause publishers and printers to loose a bunch of money because people who normally buy hardcovers will by Kindle books instead?
  2. Will it cause them to MAKE a bunch of money because people who never buy hardcovers now will buy Kindle books (as I am tempted to, with this particular book)
  3. What is Sony thinking? I think they are running a huge free marketing program for Kindle. They convince someone to read books on a device, and once they do they see the huge amount of money they can save by doing it on a kindle and go buy one.

Genius?!