Amazon has had a huge year when it comes to the number of Kindle units sold (and the number of new e-book customers gained). While the rumors of Kindle’s death at the hands of iPad are exaggerated, we know know that Kindle may be losing marketshare to iPad slowly. Jeff Bezos has talked about how iPad’s success is also a win for Amazon (Amazon has a Kindle app for iPad). That does not mean Amazon will sit and watch Apple make Kindle irrelevant.
iPad and Kindle may be two very different devices on paper. It seems many consumers do not mind reading books on their iPad instead of investing in a dedicated device such as Kindle. Amazon has gained a lot of momentum by dropping its Kindle prices this year. While Kindle continues to be relevant for the foreseeable future, here are 6 ways Amazon can help Kindle combat iPad over the long run:
- introduce e-book subscription plans: in order to set itself apart from Apple, Amazon needs to think about a new business model for Kindle e-books. Kindle owners tend to read a lot of books each year. Why not give them a way to read as many Kindle e-books as they can for a monthly fee?
- take advantage of Kindle API: many of us were excited about Kindle API. So far, it has been a disappointment. If mine sweeper game is the best developers can do with Kindle API, Amazon may as well just close the platform. Amazon needs to learn a lesson or two from Apple here.
- consider innovation in design: a color-screen Kindle won’t necessarily help Amazon keep Apple iPad at bay. A couple of years ago that would have been a game changer. Amazon needs to look beyond color E-ink to differentiate its products from Apple tablets.
- focus on social: social reading is the future. Amazon has realized that. Still, Kindle has a long way to go before it becomes the ideal device for social reading.
- offer lower prices: Kindle’s price can fall below $100 in 2011. Amazon can use e-book subscription plans to subsidize its e-readers and offer them for much less. Apple iPad may be shiny but people do not want to pay $500 to get an e-book reader if they have a chance to get one for a lot less.
- focus on Android: there is a reason Amazon is considering bringing an Android tablet to the market. Android is here to stay and will surpass Apple’s iOS platform very soon. Amazon’s Android app store and Kindle app for Android should help Amazon grow its Kindle platform even faster.
What are your suggestions? Is Kindle in trouble? Does Amazon even need to focus on hardware in the future?