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Amazon kindles a new fire in Publishing Industry


A few days earlier, Amazon took the gadget lovers by surprise when they launched Kindle Fire which lines up amazing features at a fairytale price. Kindle Fire which features full colour display with multimedia capabilities, 90,000 e -books and 17 million music downloads, 100,000 movies and TV shows, and a cloud-enhanced Silk browser comes at a down to earth price of $199. This is lesser than half the cost of lowest priced model of iPad, and surprisingly much lower than the production cost of the device itself.

There is a lot of buzz around Amazon vs iPad and price war which is distorting the real story behind Amazon Kindle Fire. No company will ever sell a product at a price lesser than its production cost to compete with an established product like Apple iPad. What many of us tend to miss out is Amazon’s bigger game plan behind Kindle Fire which is very opposite to that of Apple.
Apple vs Amazon
To summarise Apple vs Amazon story in a line, Apple focuses on devices for profit and sees content as value-addition which will drive their device sales, while Amazon focuses on content and device is looked upon as a platform to sell their content. While Apple depend on their Hardware for profit, Amazon is primarily a publishing company with
single-minded focus on content. This pretty much explains Amazon’s pricing strategy behind latest versions of Kindles.
While iPad is very focussed on enhancing User Experience with a great device, Amazon targets publishers with a potential business model which is predicted to take e-reading to the next level. Amazon has already tied up with media and publishing companies. For instance, many publishers have tied up with Amazon to provide free Kindle device with three-month trial subscriptions.
As against Apple, Amazon’s model is more flexible and favourable to publishers that will drive more publishers to consider Amazon in the coming future.
The new features all set to redefine publishing
Let us have a closer look at the features which hold a huge potential for publishers and content sellers. The most talked about feature is the multi-media rich colour display which has replaced e-ink based black and white display. While readers are of divided opinion about the readability factor, from a publishers’ angle, it is a good thing. For authors and publishers, the introduction of colour means that they can excite readers more with professional-looking and colourful illustrations. This will definitely be very exciting for children’s books publishers.
Another great feature that sets apart Amazon Fire is its new cloud empowered Silk Browser.For users, this means that they can walk around with a personalised library in their pocket. They can have access to their favouorite magazines any time, browse through back issues, or pull out a particular article based on keyword or author instantly. Enhanced cataloguing and search functionalities make the reading experience better for the users. Added to this, Fire comes with capability for predictive recommendation. Based on reader’s browsing and download history, it will preload the pages which makes reading faster and more personalised. For a publisher, the cloud power opens a huge potential. They can now have a full visibility over their readers and offer personalised reading experience. Even the advertisements can be targeted based on reader’s unique preferences.
Another great feature Amazon has debuted in its new series of Kindle is sponsored screensavers which offers great platform for publishers and advertisers while delivering cost advantages to the users. The cheapest kindle model (the 6-inch device) now comes at $79 when it is pre-loaded with special offers, and it is priced higher at $109 without offers; the larger Touch versions is priced at $99 and $139 respectively with and without the promotional offers; and the Touch 3G version is set at $149 and $189 with and without deals respectively. Though this feature is now limited to Amazon’s own promotions, this will be soon extended to third party content providers and advertisers. For publishers this will be great news. They could have more revenue opportunities around ad driven content strategies. A large publishing company with many titles or a group of publishers can launch special packages that offer free device with 1 or 2 years subscriptions of selected magazines. In such devices, they can pre-load their own promotional screen savers and even pre-load content that will help to generate more leads to their own stores. Publishers can also make revenue through third party advertisements once Amazon enables publishers to embed advertisements into their content.
Driving e-reading to the next level
If Amazon Kindle takes off, it will mark a revolution in the publishing industry. If more readers migrate to e-reading, it will also mean huge cost savings by cutting down production and shipping charges. Amazon is also reportedly preparing to launch e-rental initiative.
For publishers, this also means that they can save a lot on production and shipping cost if the reader experience really takes off. Users would pay a monthly fee for access to selected publications from Amazon’s e-book collection, and access privileges would be determined by the subscribers’ monthly rate. Amazon’s initiatives are clearly focused on transforming the publishing industry. However, we cannot expect an overnight shift of reader habits. The
success of e-book tablets will very much depend on how publishers are able to evolve tablet based products to the readers’ expectations. They might have to rework on aspect like content format, layout and style as there is a sea-difference between print and digital behaviours. And to change an preset habit will not be as easy as said.
It will also be interesting to see how Amazon, publishers and advertisers will position themselves in the eco system and complement each other to offer compelling experiences to the readers. This will mean that Amazon will have to work out more favourable deals for publishers and also extend their platform to publishers to drive ad revenues. The publishing houses also have to rethink their models and be more open and adaptive to new technologies and emerging trends.
Amazon Kindle, no doubt has potential to transform publishing industry. It is just matter of time before we see more demand for e-books. Early ad will be the ones to reap more benefits.


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