You Give a Kid a Kindle – Then What?

My son loves to read, so my wife and I decided to get him a Kindle Touch for Christmas.

He recently turned nine and we think that he's responsible enough to care for an eReader - and what better way to demonstrate our confidence in him than to surprise him on Christmas day?

The problem that we had (as do many parents of young children) is the lack of parental controls on Kindle devices.

Kindles have gotten cheap enough that they can serve as suitable replacements for kid's books without breaking the bank (or a kid's back) but they're still designed with adults in mind: one-click purchases for books, games, apps, movies, music and audiobooks. (Sorry, Amazon, but that doesn't work in our house.)

So, I set about figuring out how to handle this with our son.

Virtual Sunglasses, Real Shopping

I ordered a pair of prescription sunglasses from Eyefly.com through a great deal on Living Social. ($49 for a complete pair of glasses, shipped.)

That was pretty cool, but this is even cooler:

While browsing for glasses on Eyefly, you can take a photo of yourself with a webcam. The site uses software that will automagically place a 3D rendering of the glasses on your face so you can see how they might look.

Amazon Adjusts to New App Store Rules with Clever Marketing

Apple has been asserting control of its App Store rules by asking app developer to remove the "purchase" buttons for third-party stores in certain apps. The most obvious ones impacted by this have been the Google Books and Kindle apps.

Last night, I discovered a bit of clever marketing on Amazon's part in response to this change.

Grove Demonstrates Great Use of the Facebook ‘Like’ Button

Grove, an Oregon-based maker of gorgeous bamboo cases for the Apple iPhone, demonstrates an excellent use of the Facebook "Like" button. Rather than simply enabling customers to express their love for the company, Grove has implemented the Like button for each product. I found them via the Twitter @earlybird service. Use the code EARLYBIRD at… Continue reading Grove Demonstrates Great Use of the Facebook ‘Like’ Button

Aggregated Media Beats One-Off Titles in the iPad App Store

In thinking about content for the iPad (books, magazines, movies, etc.) my instincts and experience tell me that having a unique product in the App Store should drive more sales than an app that aggregates premium content. That's because I believe the value of keyword search is greater than the value of aggregation  - it becomes difficult to effectively list all the aggregated content on the app's sales page and harder for consumers to find that content.

Apparently, I was wrong.

Another Flaw in the eBook Agency Model

Some major book publishers (HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster) have opted for Amazon's "Agency Model" to sell their eBooks. Simply put, this means that the publisher sets the price and Amazon sells then delivers it at that price. However, it also means that Amazon is not the seller anymore, and they've gone through the trouble to… Continue reading Another Flaw in the eBook Agency Model

Does Amazon want to be in the Hardware Business?

I found this post at iReaderReview about the need for the next generation of the Kindle (what the author calls the "Kindle 3") to have "Killer Features" in order to compete with the new threats to the Kindle's market success. While it's an interesting analysis, there are some key points that the author fails to… Continue reading Does Amazon want to be in the Hardware Business?