Home » Amazon, Disruptive Innovation, Kindle » The Kindle is Just a Transitional Reading Device

The Kindle is Just a Transitional Reading Device

28 September 2011

Amazon will announce its new tablet today. IP attorney Lloyd J. Jassin says it’s just another way station on the road to Amazon’s ultimate destination.

 If purchasing digital content is optional today, how do you make it worth someone’s while to buy a downloadable book that is otherwise available on a torrent site?  The answer the music industry has come up with is convenience, quality and legal.

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I believe that what we are watching is Amazon rethinking the future of making money online. Kindle is only a transitional reading device.   It’s a stop along the way toward a multifunction tablet, which is, itself, a stop along the way toward a cloud based service — a service that stores book and music files remotely.

Some believe the Kindle advertising model, announced last month, is a first step toward  a freemium business model.  Marry the freemium model with a cloud based book service, and you have advertising supported books.  You won’t just being storing books that you purchased on Amazon’s server, but, reading advertising supported ones.  The latter bears some similarity to the way Dickens sold his novels — serially, in installments or parts over time.   The future of publishing is going to look more “tailored and personalized.”   Until the FTC clamps down on America’s patchwork quilt of pro-advertiser privacy laws, revenue will flow from targeted behavioral ads.

As an aside, a cloud based digital book service is a grand idea for readers as they can gain access to their files from wherever they are, and read those files on  multiple devices, e.g., smart phones, tablets, and their PC’s.

The ambiguous digital book future is getting clearer day-by-day. It’s not about ebook reading devices, it’s about monetizing ebook readers.  Amazon is poised and ready, as evidenced by their willingness to build a business by selling ebooks below what they paid for them.  Google is ready, too.   Free works for Amazon and Google.  It’s just bad for publishers.

The short- to mid-term changes in trade publishing are going to be dramatic.  The music industry were the first movers in the digital space.   Just as technology improved musician’s access to customers, it has decimated the music industry.

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At the recent “Rethink Music” conference in Boston, one industry leader said cloud services must get past next year.  He was optimistic about Amazon Cloud Drive and Spotify.  His prediction was that the world’s 160 million iTunes users will move to the cloud over the next five years.  Cloud services are on the cusp.   It’s seems like Amazon is looking to develop a successful business model based on access to content — not  ownership.   Streaming to one or multiple devices, the ability to sell ancillary services, and social networking features, make cloud based publishing a very exciting prospect.

The legal issues surround cloud and subscription services are plentiful.  They include antitrust concerns.  For example, there’s the controversial question of whether Amazon, Google and Apple (“AGA”) should own the content they distribute?   It is a good idea that they have a financial interest in the content they sell?   If prevented from doing so, perhaps, it would usher in a golden age of independent publishing.

Link to the rest at Lloyd J. Jassin

Amazon, Disruptive Innovation, Kindle

7 Comments to “The Kindle is Just a Transitional Reading Device”

  1. I don’t know… I think there will always be a market of eInk. Until I owned a Nook Touch I didn’t realize what I was missing by having a device to read on that was NOT backlit. Tablets are no different to me than reading on a computer. And I’m finding I like having a device I can just read on and NOT be distracted by email and other online diversions.

  2. I think you’re spot-on w/respect to Amazon’s plans, but wrong that the FTC EVER “clamps down on America’s patchwork quilt of pro-advertiser privacy laws.”

    There is NO effective force opposed to increased stripping away of privacy. Especially when there is lots of money to be made in doing so.

  3. I agree, Elizabeth. The lack of distractions, plus not being backlit, is why I’m moving to reading most new books on my Nook.

  4. I agree with Elizabeth. When I sit down to read, I do not want all the distractions and temptations of the open browser, the email program, and so on. In fact, I’m such a luddite, I think the printed book will also have a much longer run than some people are predicting. Even if it’s only in the used variety.

    And I love having an eInk screen. So much easier on the eyes than a computer or pad screen. 🙂

    Phone? I’m way too old to read on a phone! The type is too small. LOL

  5. OMG Amazon hit the market, and hit it hard. I’m actually a bit stunned at their unveiling. PG I’m sure you’re going to post about this soon but, wow. Basic Kindle for $79, Kindle 3G Touch for $149, and the tablet for $199? Apple should be looking over their shoulder by now, in a big way. This should be a CRAZY holiday season for e-books.

  6. Uh, wasn’t the Ipad supposed to kill the Kindle because you could read on it as well as do all this other stuff on it?

    Didn’t happen.

    My eyes are getting older. Unless they change the type of display on the tablets to something more eye-friendly they will not replace the Eink displays. Goodness, I hope they don’t or I’ll have to find a way to go back to paper books (where they heck would I store paper books???).

    Backlit displays will not replace eye-friendly reflective technology!

    This is just the new version of “the sky is falling!” that has plaguing the publishing industry since, well, since there was a publishing industry.

  7. Quote: “Some believe the Kindle advertising model, announced last month, is a first step toward a freemium business model.”

    Those “some” are wrong, and obviously so. The “special offers” Kindles (as Bezos is calling them now) are just a way to subsidize a lower cost for the device, not the content that’s sold for it.

    “Marry the freemium model with a cloud based book service, and you have advertising supported books. You won’t just being storing books that you purchased on Amazon’s server, but, reading advertising supported ones.”

    Jeez, not this “advertising supported” business model baloney again? We’ve been hearing this for decades now — still not going to happen, especially with Amazon. Amazon sells content, not advertising. This guy is just flat out wrong, as everybody else predicting this malarkey has been.

    “The future of publishing is going to look more ‘tailored and personalized.'”

    With the advent of idie e-publishing, it already is. Readers can now go on Amazon and buy exactly the books they want to read, not the ones that the trad publishers find it marginally profitable to publish or the big chain bookstores to stock. The revolution’s already started, and this guy is on the side of a business model that never even got into the fight.

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