Yesterday fellow blogger Ron Shevlin published an open letter to Jeff Bezos, proposing that Amazon should start giving away Kindles. He proposed that giving away their ebook device would be offset by the incremental ebooks they’d then sell, in a similar way to giving away razors as a way to sell high-margin blades.
I’m of the opinion that, unlink razors, ebooks are too much of a niche product to take off in any scalable way. It was author and blogger Nick Hornby who helped me see the light, when he pointed out that an ebook is a high-tech solution solving problems for a largely low-tech market segment.
Social Networks for Book Lovers
Instead, I think the future of publishing — regardless of whether the ink is real or virtual — will be better advanced through social networks designed for those passionate about books. Notably, I’ve been tracking Goodreads, and the 18-month-old Shelfari.
Jeff Bezos has been watching as well. Today we learn that Amazon just acquired Shelfari, three weeks after acquiring another competitor in the space, AbeBooks.
It’s a shrewd move for Amazon to shift more marketing dollars toward online social networks. If only for this reason: As true book lovers become more of a rarity, the urge for them to congregate will grow.
Long before the day when book lovers warm to a digital book, they will welcome a digital way to connect with other readers.