Oprah endorsing Amazon Kindle was a big thing. At least that was the logical expectations when a heavyweight such as Oprah calls Kindle one the “best gadgets” she has ever had. But analysts are claiming that Oprah’s endorsement may not matter to Amazon until 2010!
Oprah’s endorsement has had some effect. And I think the effects will be more significant than some of the naysayers expect them to be. I have been a big fan of Amazon Kindle since day one, but I see two fundamental challenges for Amazon in the upcoming month:
The economy has hit and has hit companies hard. The tech companies are now feeling the effects (Sun Microsystems is cutting force and more companies will follow suit). Folks simply do not have money to spend on Kindle (possible solution: offering free interest financing for 12 months, lowering the price, an alternative monthly fee structure).
Many folks simply do not take Kindle seriously. We have gotten used to paper books, and sometimes it is hard to breakaway from old habits. Amazon needs to find ways to encourage folks to adopt Kindle. That could be done with major book promotions, early book releases, exclusive content, free starter content packs, and content distribution promotions.
Amazon Kindle is a wonderful device, but if people fail to justify paying $350 for it, then Amazon’s got a big problem. In these tough times, Amazon needs to bring its innovative ways to product management and content distribution. If not, even the mighty Oprah can’t turn the tide.