I made a few notes while reading this Book Business magazine article over the weekend. It's well worth reading, btw, but here are a few items I underlined:
So true and yet so easily forgotten. The Kindle could have simply become Newton 2.0 without this important feature. Customers come for the eInk display but Whispernet is what keeps 'em coming back. (It still blows my mind that no other Kindle competitor has figured this out...)
...obviously publishers could do better by designing online-oriented cover versions that would not only be more eye-catching and dynamic, but potentially even interactive.
Another obvious but overlooked point. We're all still applying the print rules to the e-world. Just put a two-dimensional image of the print book's cover on the Kindle edition's product page and you're all set. When will we start seeing that precious screen real estate occupied by something that's much more engaging and dynamic?
This analysis suggests that e-books could, as a stand-alone business, be priced far below Amazon’s current $9.99 pricing and dramatically lower than p-books.
I have no doubt some e-books can be priced below $9.99. Heck, quite a few print books are already there (e.g., mass market paperbacks). I'm also a big fan of the idea that lower and lower prices will cast a much broader customer net, meaning you'll attract quite a few customers who otherwise would have ignored your product. But as Apple's iPhone App Store has proven, while there's a big difference between sales of a $4.99 app and a $9.99 app, there's a much bigger difference between a free one and a 99-cent one.
Experimentation is the key here, of course, and thanks to the e-book model, it's pretty easy to make price changes on the fly. As I've also mentioned before, I think sponsorship will have a role in the e-book marketplace. Just like ads make the magazine world work, sponsorship is likely to help keep certain e-books at an irresistibly low price.
Finally, I wanted to toss in another idea I'll bet Amazon will spring on us at some point. Why haven't they bothered to insert any "Where do I go from here?..." links at the end of Kindle editions? If I just read a great book by Joe Author, why aren't they inserting links to other books written by Joe Author at the end? Enable one-click buying and boom, they extend their e-commerce reach even further. If not other books by the same author, what about simply utilizing the "customers who bought this item also bought..." functionality of their website by inserting it at the end of the Kindle edition? If I just had a good experience reading this book (or magazine, or newspaper) I'm more likely to buy something else from you; why rely exclusively on email blasts and other e-marketing strategies from the 1990's?
Btw, when Amazon does implement something like that last item (and they will!), they'll make even more money off it by structuring it like their other online placement/marketing campaigns. Publishers will have to pay for the privelidge to be included in these links. I'm not suggesting that's good or bad...just pointing out it's yet another way Amazon can make a few more bucks along the way (and possibly reduce the price of the Kindle hardware?...)