Amazon announced the acquisition of the social reading company Goodreads in a deal that should come to fruition by the end of Q2. The social site has raised $2.75 million in funding since 2007, and currently boasts over 16 million members with more than 360 million books, with 22 million additional books added every month.
By merging with Amazon, Goodreads is directly linked to the Kindle book-buying network and Amazon’s store, and is ostensibly to Kindle and Amazon what Ping tried to be to the iTunes store: Amazon’s book-centric social network. It will allow readers to share, recommend, discuss, and ultimately buy books on a much wider and more elegantly integrated social scale. This will be further facilitated by Goodreads’ recommendation technology, which allows users to follow and interact with writers while simultaneously rating and spreading their favorite books for incentives like free reads and other giveaways. Ultimately, the marriage with Kindle makes perfect sense for both parties, and with users adding more books to their “want to read” sections at a rate of 4 books per second, the purchase power of this 16 million user network seems almost limitless.
Amazon has rolled out it’s X Ray service to TV Shows, surfacing IMDB information to provide more background on the show. It’s an extension of their support for movies and will be available for most popular shows. While many content providers are relaying this information through second screen integration, Amazon is creating simple software features on the first screen that do not take away from the experience.
Recognizing competition from digital competitors Amazon and Apple, bookseller Barnes & Noble has announced it will close 1/3 of its stores at a rate of 20 stores a year for the next decade. This hardly comes as a surprise as tablets and e-readers like the Apple iPad and Amazon’s Kindle Fire become increasingly ubiquitous, and digital continues to encroach on print markets. The strategy is expected to increase demand for Barnes & Noble’s Nook e-readers, which saw shrinking sales last quarter.
If you haven’t heard the mention of ereaders in a few weeks, it’s for good reason. The growth of tablets appears to be phasing out the single-task device according to a recent report from isuppli. The study predicts sales to decline 36% by year-end with just 7 million units on the market in 2016. The optimal reading display and superior battery life seem to be the two features keeping ereaders afloat.
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