Sticking to my Open Mobile theme, one of the more interesting presentations was from Ian Freed, a VP at Amazon responsible for the Kindle eBook.
The Kindle was another device touted as “open” by various folks, and again that’s a pretty absurd contention. It is carrier independent, but hardly open.
I like the idea of the Kindle, but I can’t see buying one. My TIBH (toddler influenced buying habits) leave me unconvinced that an eBook is a wise investment.
First of all, it’s pricey. Secondly, if it should be jumped on, vomited on or assailed with any other kind of liquid, playdoh or WTRS (weird toddler related substance), I’m guessing it won’t remain as useable as its paper-based cousin. Thirdly, I simply don’t read enough at present to justify the purchase. And finally, I need another device that has to be charged like I need a hole in the head.
But it is selling, and Amazon’s library of content is growing rapidly. They’ve more than doubled the number of available titles to 200,000. I can’t find my notes at present, but the numbers for how many eBooks each customer bought were impressive.
When you look at sales of individual titles in the e-version versus print, they’re seeing solid revenue growth. For the available 200k titles, every $100 of revenue breaks down 90/10 for print versus eBooks.
Aesthetically, I can’t get excited about the thing. But, like Apple and the iPhone, the way Amazon have made it work is seamless and I believe that is what makes it sell.
Every Kindle is personalized. When you fire it up for the first time, it (a) knows your name and (b) is linked to your Amazon account, making future purchases easy.
As soon as it’s on, you are presented with a personally addressed letter from Jeff Bezos, and in the background it will immediately start downloading whatever titles you’ve already purchased.
The presentation included quotes from happy customers. One was convinced that the device was pre-loaded with his purchases at the factory. But in fact, it all downloaded automatically while he was reading the welcome letter.
So again, like Apple, you have a device that is completely closed. But consumers don’t care because the user experience is seamless.