There have been a lot of talks among e-book industry experts about the future of Amazon Kindle. Amazon’s timing couldn’t have been better when it launched Kindle a couple of years ago. Sony was going nowhere with its e-reader at the time. There was no iPad or nook for Amazon to worry about either. Nowadays, the market is much more competitive and Amazon does not seem to have a clear plan for Kindle. Amazon can always surprise us with a killer Kindle 3.0. But it will take more than just a shiny device for Amazon to stay competitive.
In my Kindle 3.0 wish-list from a year ago, I mentioned some of the features that could make Amazon Kindle the device to have for those who are shopping for an e-reader. A year has gone by, and we still have not heard about Amazon’s plans. In the meantime, B&N and Apple have introduced 2 powerful Kindle challengers to the market.
Maybe Seth Godin is right. A Kindle lite could certainly help Amazon get more people to try its platform:
The paperback Kindle. Don’t worry about touchscreens or color or even always available internet to download new books. Make a $49 Kindle. Not so hard if you use available wifi and simplify the device. Make it the only ebook reader in town.
The trouble is, there are plenty of other devices that can act as an e-book reader. While hard-core Kindle fans are not willing to compromise and settle for those LCD-type e-readers, a lot of people will. Amazon needs to be much more aggressive than that.
At the end of the day, it all comes down to innovation for Amazon. The company needs to innovate and stay aggressive if it wants to stay competitive in the e-reader market. Here are 6 things Amazon can do to take Kindle to the next level:
- Go Social: social books are the future. For Amazon, it should be all about solidifying its Kindle community and get more people to join. Amazon has taken a few subtle steps towards this goal (sharing top passages and highlights). More needs to be done.
- Free Kindles: Amazon needs to find a way to give Kindles away for free. It’s tough to compete with a free device. There were rumors a while back about Amazon planning to give a Kindle to every Prime customer. That did not pan out. But I am sure there are ways for Amazon to make this strategy work (e.g. book subscription plans).
- Innovation in business model: this is a no brainer. Wouldn’t it be nice if Amazon created a Netflix type service for books? Or maybe gave users the chance to buy more books every years and save at the same time. Book subscription plans can be very attractive to book addicts.
- Apps: another no brainer. Apple has built a huge lead over its competitors with its apps. Amazon may be a little bit late to the game, but it’s better late than never. Kindle API can’t come soon enough.
- Reward loyalty: shoppers appreciate companies that reward their loyalty. Amazon can always let its customers earn points towards earning a free Kindle with every purchase they make.
- Go way outside the box: I admit. I have always dreamed about a “wearable” Kindle. The technology is probably a bit expensive for this purpose at this point. Nevertheless, Amazon can learn a thing or two from Nintendo. Wii is a prime example of a product that changed the game in a hyper-competitive market.
What are your thoughts? How can Amazon take Kindle to the next level?