Kindle Statistics

Dear Kindle Team, one of my favorite features of Google Reader has always been its “Trends” or more simply its statistics that give you insight into your reading patterns and volume.

As the Kindle has become a bigger and bigger part of my life, much of my reading time has shifted from RSS-based sources to content on my Kindle, but I’m really curious how much time, how many words, at what times of day, etc I’m consuming all this new content. I think providing stats would also encourage people to read more, and highlight to them how the Kindle has changed their habits.

32 thoughts on “Kindle Statistics

  1. Good idea. But please tell me, why do these folks not ship their Kindle to Cambodia? Why this white Western chauvinism in place, that makes that about 50 American multinationals do not ship products to any non-US destination, among them Microsoft and Amazon, to name only these two? I can’t buy any books from Amazon ‘Sellers’, nor can I buy any stationary items, nor can I enjoy any MP3 Downloads, despite the fact that I have a company in USA. The mere fact of my browser saying I am in Cambodia puts me off the board. I call this Internet fascism.

    1. Slow down! I’m sure they want to sell as much to as many places as possible — there’s probably some licensing issues preventing them.

      1. I understand where this guy is coming from, because just the other day I tried to get a book for my students from a website which was free and worked fine when I was in the US, but when I went to it here it said I wasn’t allowed to use the site from this country (Mexico). So I can understand Pierre’s irritation, especially because I was being deprived of educational materials that I wanted for my class.

        However, I also think you are right, Matt, about the licensing and copyright issues. All these different countries don’t necessarily overlap in their laws and that really gets in the way of materials being shared internationally.

      2. Matt, I thought so as well. I am a retired lawyer. I wrote to Bill Gates about this issue, back in 1997, quoting a listing of all companies that are following this policy. He didn’t reply. I’ve had several times an issue with paying for software to American companies as Cambodia was not listed among the countries, well was Cameroun …

        Okay, joke aside, speculations do not help us. Fact is that the USA is such a strong market that for most companies the hassle to go international is not worth it, I suppose, because the American market alone gives them more than 90% of their revenues, with relatively little investment compared to the huge expenses, namely for settling all those licensing issues. This costs a lot of money, given the values of trademarks, and the like. So, I think this is the unspoken reason why there is not really an effort done in that direction. The lesson is to help building a real global economy; even Europe hasn’t so far reached the American standard of a REALLY homogeneous market structure.

    2. Yo could always try downloading mp3s using a proxy server. Can’t help on the shipping things although certainly microsoft is readily available here in Peru. Am surprised it is not so in Cambodia.

      Still I waited a long time for the kindle to come to the UK and gave up and moved to Peru… Another e-reader for my christmas present I think.

      Lo ve the idea of stats on reading… Could do with the same thing to tell me how much time I am wasting browsing the web!

    3. Obviously this is very late to the game here, but they are now shipping to Cambodia. I don’t think you can buy it locally, and will likely get stung by local import duties (they jump on any excuse to slap a nice tax on you here).

      I’ve been here for 9 months now and definitely see that I took for granted the ease that you could get things in Ireland. That said, even in Ireland you were left waiting in comparison to what you could get in the US, but it wasn’t too bad.

      1. Since I’m not rich (far from it) and I really despise spending money on “handheld devices” I was thrilled when an App came out for my iPod Touch as a kindle reader. Now I too can download and read Kindle books/mags and not have to spend hundreds of dollars to do so.

  2. I wrote a support email to the Kindle people suggestion the same thing:


    07/10/09 14:27:10
    Your Name:Beau
    Comments:I’d LOVE to see an API available for accessing some information about my Kindle usage. Stuff I’d be particularly interested in would be:

    - Titles purchased/Loaded onto Kindle
    - Current Page
    - Page history (e.g. current page vs time/date, so I could calculate pages per day/hour etc)
    - Book details (ASIN, so I could look up from Amazon for things like # pages, author, other books, etc)
    - Access to my bookmarks/clippings/notes

    It’d also be neat if I could somehow sync my bookmarks in Basic Web to Safari via the Kindle for iPhone app.

    The Kindle is in a unique position to do some really cool things around people’s *actual* reading habits, which have never previously been possible. I’d really love to see what could be done if this information was accessible.

    Thanks for such an awesome product, looking forward to the future!

    Beau

    They replied saying that they know their software/tools don’t support the things I asked for just yet (but didn’t hint that they were working on it).They pointed me to check out the Kindle source code and gave me some instructions on how to get at my Clippings from my computer as well.

  3. I just finished reading my second book on Kindle and I love it. I just loaded it up for my two week trip to Sicily. The only problem I have had is when I try to enlarge illustrations.

  4. I love my Kindle 2. Nothing like having the paper ready when I get up; plus magazines and plenty of books to read at my finger tips. Wishes: more local paper choices (will possibly happen with time), better battery life (can go about a day or two give or take with wireless off and heavy reading). Able to shop Kindle store online with free wireless = priceless, and a good choice! I have bought more books recently just by owning a Kindle and finding stuff I felt like reading at the time.

    1. Sorry, forgot to mention that your stats idea is a good idea, and I think likely to happen. I would also like to see a tiny bit of social networking around friends (Kindle friends and just plain friends who use Amazon) rated content that they wish to share (on top of the Kindle store reviews)

  5. The Kindle has not changed my reading habits in any way. I see this a lot from others who use Kindle, and I wonder if Kindle is having an impact on reading in general.

    Another thing I’ve noticed is reading quantity over quality. I also wonder if there is any basis in fact to this.

    I see the Kindle as an adjunct to books. Its a great gadget to have when traveling. I don’t know how many other ways it might be used. But for those of us who love books, no gadget will ever replace a real book.

    1. I agree with HAL. Generally speaking, the technology that offeres ‘e-reading devices’ is great but still leafing books is something special.

      As for Matt’s original entry, I think providing stats is a very interesting idea for checking user trends too!

    2. I am writing a huge analytical essay right now on the very subject of printed books versus electronical sources, like the Kindle. Matt, if you ever find any statistics on the kindle (or any comparitive sources) I’d love to know.

  6. I don’t think we can get it up here in Canada yet. I’d totally get it if I could. But we’re still waiting patiently for the programming on Apple TV to not suck up here, so I suspect it will be a while.

  7. Pierre,

    Many US companies automatically assume that orders from some countries (such as the Philippines where I used to live) are made with stolen credit cards.

    I used a proxy server in the US to buy software online, which I then rarely had any trouble downloading directly.

    Shipping atoms was a problem.

    I am now in the UK and might be interested in helping circumvent this nonsense as I know how frustrating it is — if there’s sufficient interest. I think I could organize drop shipping and re-shipping from US and Europe.

  8. First, a response to Pierre’s query: it’s doubtful your question could be answered here. My stab in the dark would be restrictions on commerce, shipping, fulfillment – any number of possibilities, but I’d check with the parties in question directly. Have you? A cursory look at Amazon UK shows they do ship to Cambodia. It could be individual “sellers” are reluctant to because of the hoops we have to jump through to ship oversees, not to mention the enormous cost, and corruption on the receiving end from postal services. (yes, I’ve shipped oversees and YES, my client was “missing” their product because it made a “pit stop” with the local postal office.)

    To Matt’s post, I was soooo looking for stats here, but instead, all you’ve done is move the Kindle to my wishlist, and I thank you for it.

    1. To be more precise, all amazon stores do ship their regular products here, but not the ‘Sellers’, as you rightly suspected, with some exceptions however, who do. What I don’t understand is that they don’t ship stationary here, for example such useful things as CD and DVD jewel cases. There are no double DVD jewel cases to be found here which is why I wanted to order them. No way. Not only not with amazon but I have checked out a number of American online department stores – and then gave up.

  9. I’ve never had a Kindle in my hands. Can somebody give me an idea of the viewing experience. One of the arguments against the early idea of e-books was that those devices emit some form of light and that that was disturbing the retina. I was myself a fan of e-books from the start and published all my stuff myself but got to hear from friends that it’s troublesome to read a book on a computer or handheld, that it was more relaxing to have the lightsource outside of the book. So is there any real advancement in Kindle technology that makes it’s not giving strain to the eyes as a computer screen does? Thanks in advance.
    Pierre

    1. Hi Pierre,

      I bought a Kindle on Amazon and had them ship it to Cambodia when it was $259. I also had a case shipped that was $30. I only had them ship it because they use DHL to ship to PP and I figured if DHL was shipping it would at least get here and I knew I’d pay a hefty “customs duty” and was prepared to do so. When it arrived DHL phoned me and said it was held up in customs and I needed to pay $50USD. I tried talking them down to no avail and paid the $50USD.

      The screen uses something they call e-ink technology and it is almost just like reading on paper. It is not a back lit screen. Think of an etch a sketch screen. It is easy to read in broad daylight even sitting on the beach and there is no glare at all as it has a matte screen. It is not backlit so if you want to read it on a bus at night you will need an external light just like reading a normal book.

      Cheers,
      Aaron

      Phnom Penh

      1. Dear Aaron,
        Thanks so much, dear friend. This is exactly the information I was asking and waiting for, and nobody else wanted to give it to me. Some people are unable to put words on things. I have an American friend who had a Kindle and was unable to even understand what I meant. This means, when I evaluate what you say, that Kindle is clearly superior as a technology to iPad because the Apple iPad technology is basically an LCD backlit kind of thing that puts you off when you’re sleepy and want to read a few pages in bed. Fortunately, in the meantime Amazon ships Kindle devices to Cambodia and also the network is working here for downloading the books. If you are in Phnom Penh, like me, and you’d like to have a beer with me, let us meet.

        Here is my Facebook URL:
        http://www.facebook.com/PierreFWalter

        Here is more about me:
        yhttp://ipublica.com/about/pfw/

        Cheers and good night (I’m going to work the night through once again).
        Pierre

    2. Hi Pierre,

      The Kindle is no doubt superior to the iPad if you’re sole reason for purchasing it is to read a lot of books. That was my sole purpose in buying it.

      For people who just read the odd magazine or newspaper (like Phnom Penh Post) and a few pages of a book every once in a while they might prefer the iPad as it is more versatile with all it’s internet capabilities, backlit color screen and watching videos, storing photos etc. I have a laptop to do all the other things that an iPad will do.

      Magazines with color photos or any books with graphics or anything other than simple text will display better on an iPad or the free Kindle software you can install on a laptop or iPad. The Kindle, in my opinion, is not great for reading newspapers or magazines that have a lot of graphics. For instance if you read Time magazine you get the text only. But text based magazines like the economist are displayed nicely on the Kindle. Graphics and newspapers might be better on the larger Kindle DX, but I didn’t want something that large.

      The Kindle is a book reader whose sole function is to read books. The iPad is a multipurpose device which is basically a scaled down laptop with a touch screen rather than a keyboard.

      I was initially unimpressed with the Kindle. When I took it out of the box the screen seemed very small and I didn’t like the design. That lasted about a day until I used it a lot. The screen is actually very functional and I read faster on the Kindle and read more books as well. The built in dictionary is very handy as well as the ability to highlight text, keep bookmarks etc. If you’re in Cambodia you’ll need to download the books to a laptop first and then transfer them to the Kindle or they charge International delivery charges. Magazines will need to be downloaded manually as well, but it’s very easy.

      The other things is I’ve read all the photocopied books that I want to read in Phnom Penh. If I were a billionaire and stayed in Phnom Penh all the time I’d just buy all my books at monument bookstore. But instead I trade with the devil and buy a lot of books for the Kindle instead. Monument is a little pricey and most of the books I’m reading are not stocked there either.

      There are still an aweful lot of titles not available from Amazon so it’s not as if it will do away with all printed books at the moment.

      I have used my Cambodia ANZ visa card to purchase the Kindle and all my Kindle books. I have also had Amazon ship real books directly to Bangkok using my Cambodia ANZ visa card without any problems and I thought the shipping was reasonable.

      1. This comment thread has been extremely helpful to me and I really appreciate the time and thought that have gone into the replies here.

        As a joint birthday & Christmas present, my parents have just ordered a Kindle (along with case with the reading light) for me from Amazon US. It will be delivered to Cambodia, hopefully, within the next two weeks. I am assuming I’ll get hit with some customs charges, but I’m quite happy to deal with that.

        Shipping was €24 or so.

        Between this thread and other things I have read I’m actually extremely excited about this present and am really looking forward to reading more often and having a bit more choice of books than is available here in Cambodia. I think I will be finished the Hakuri Nakamura book (physical) I’m currently reading by the time it arrives.

        Hurrah for early Christmas presents (helped by my birthday being at the start of December).

        Thanks again.

        Alex

  10. By the way, to all of you, and thanks for your replies and concerns, all my problems with shipment of electronic items are solved, after I contacted the amazon customer servicer and explained my situation. All this stuff is checked out and shipped to my friend in San Francisco who ships me the stuff here. Of course, it’s my problem to deal with the heavy 36% import tax here, but that’s okay. Sometimes a bottle of wine can do wonders here with government and police, so I don’t worry, but I get my wonderful amazon.com stuff here now. And the amazon staff has not expressed any disapproval of my strategy, so my initial negative comments are to be traced out or invalid. Amazon is one of the greatest companies on earth, I publish all my books and media with them now, here is my Amazon Author Page:
    http://www.amazon.com/PierreFWalter/e/B003TJU97I

    Kind regards to all of you and of course to Matt.
    Greetings from Phnom Penh,
    PIerre

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