This one’s a Brooks Jensen nominee. Brooks gives the reason why the Kindle deserves a place in the THoS:
…for not including ePub as one of their acceptable formats thereby eliminating 99% of library eBooks from being read on the Kindle. Is Amazon so singularly focused on selling eBooks that they can’t allow us to use their device to read free ones?
Ah yes. I can just see some junior product manager suggesting that the Kindle handle open formats. The senior manager speaks: “Haven’t you been paying attention? We’ve got this razors-and-razor-blades pricing strategy that guarantees that we’re not gonna make any money on the hardware, and you want to make it easy for some customer to freeload by buying our hardware and reading somebody else’s books?”
“B-b-but the customer experience…” stammers the young guy, the ink on his MBA still wet.
“Forget that,” says his boss. “This is a vehicle to sell books.”
Good one, Brooks. But I have to give props to Amazon for not tying their books to their hardware. I’ve read Kindle books on a PC, an IPod Touch, an IPad, and a Droid X. Since they’re making the money on the books, it’s to their benefit to let a hundred platforms bloom. I’ve owned two Kindles, but no longer use one. If I want to, I can read ePub books on my iPad.
Here’s a win-win. Amazon could introduce an “unlocked Kindle”, that can read ePub and some other common formats, and costs more, so they can make money even if the customer doesn’t buy any Amazon books.
Douglas Stocks says
We may now purchase ebooks from our local independent bookstores and at the same time support the experience of having print books in a true browser setting. We may now go to our local booksellers website and buy our ebooks for all devices, Sony, Nook, IPad, laptop and desktop. All but the proprietary Kindle.
I think the hardware for these single function e-readers will eventually give way to the multi-function tablets that have more utility and with the ability to read multiple formats. That may force the industry to reduce the number of formats.